Hypermobility Lecture Series

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Switching on the Lightbulb to see Hypermobility Disorders

This blog has been written to give both clinicians and people living with hypermobility and associated conditions, (EDS/HSD) the reassurance that there is an increasing recognition of hypermobility within our medical and allied health communities within Australia.  

text reads can you spot the hypermobile zebra in your clinical practice or will they remain hidden? on a black background with a shadowed zebra

Read on to hear about how our Hypermobility Advocacy Group was formed in Australia, with the primary goal of increasing recognition of hypermobility! Also learn about our first group venture! – an exciting new hypermobility lecture series running in 2022. 

Unfortunately, hypermobility is often poorly understood, recognised and managed by many healthcare professionals. Perhaps this fact stems back to our university education content or much rather lack of learnings? Katie Cleary, Physiotherapist and a member of the Hypermobility Advocacy Group, recalls learning about hypomobility at university. She learnt that hypomobility would be one of the most common conditions in adults requiring physiotherapy management. But little was mentioned about its opposite, hypermobility, leaving the impression that perhaps it was neither important nor prevalent… Sometimes we get things so wrong!   

In October 2021, Juliet Hall – Physiotherapist, founder and leader of our Hypermobility Advocacy Group took action. She posted a social media message, inviting allied health clinicians to join together, to better identify and manage hypermobility disorders. Juliet encouraged us to be the change we wished to see! From this message, our group was formed – Hypermobility Advocacy Group. 

Each member of our group has their own unique story and link with hypermobility. Be it from personal experience, to inquisitive minds, hypermobility researchers, and clinicians, all with the same passion of increasing recognition about hypermobility in our community. Our mission – how do we create awareness to better support people of all ages living with hypermobility disorders within Australia? 

A crucial step involved asking our governing body – the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) for buy in and support of our plan, to present a lecture series under the APA for our colleagues, aimed at addressing key areas within hypermobility. After (oh so many!) emails, Zoom’s and messages the deal was clinched! The APA accepted our 5-part lecture series, which commences in June 2022 running monthly until October 2022. Be the change we wish to see… 

This is the first lecture series about hypermobility to be run through a national body (APA) in Australia. It’s fair to say we are extremely excited, proud and keen to present our lectures to physiotherapists, allied health practitioners and anyone else interested – YOU are invited too! This is our first venture as a passionate team of health professionals and advocates working across public and private settings to boost hypermobility awareness in a big way! 

used with permission

We recognise that advocacy needs to be on all levels. Not just advocating for clients at a local level, for example amongst GP’s and families, but also advocating at a national level. We have big plans and hope to drive change in future to include university curriculums and training programs to highlight hypermobility and it’s overlapping symptomologies as key learning and discussion topics! After all, hypermobility affects up to 1 million Australians.  

We hope that you are able to attend some or all of our lecture series and enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them! Please share this blog and information widely amongst your colleagues and fellow health practitioners, to help us raise awareness and ‘switch on the lightbulb to see hypermobility disorders.’ Be the change we wish to see… 

Thank you so much for reading and for your support!  

Hypermobility Advocacy Group 

APA Hypermobility Lecture Series 2022 

To book, use https://australian.physio/pd/pd-search and search for individual lectures below. Lectures are available for access to APA members and non-members. 

1. Lecture date: Tuesday 21st June 2022 

“Hypermobility – its types and management.’ Presented online by Sharon Hennessy (Qld) 

Cobranded by and therefore free for members of these special interest groups: 

  • Musculoskeletal 
  • Pain 
  • Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health 
  • Paediatric 
  • Advanced Practice (including ED) 
  • Acupuncture and dry needling 
  • Gerontology  
  • Disability  
  • Occupational Health 

Link to Join here 

2. Lecture date: Wednesday 27th July 2022  

“Hypermobility – An overlooked cause of chronic pain- How you can identify the hypermobile ‘zebra’ in your practice!” Presented online by Pauline Slater (SA)  

Cobranded by and therefore free for members of these special interest groups: 

  • Pain 
  • Musculoskeletal 

Link to join here

3. Lecture date: Wednesday August 24th 2022 

“It’s not just low tone – How we can understand and support our children with hypermobility” Presented online by Katie Cleary (Vic) and Claire Adams (Qld) 

Cobranded by and therefore free for members of these special interest groups: 

  • Paediatric  
  • Musculoskeletal 

Link to join here 

4. Lecture date: Wednesday September 21st 2022 

“Pelvic floor and hypermobility through the lifespan– It’s not always weakness”  

Presented online by Terry Wesselink (Vic)  

Cobranded by and therefore free for members of these special interest groups: 

  • Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health 
  • Musculoskeletal 
  • Paediatric 

Link to join here

5. Lecture date: Wednesday October 26th 2022

“Managing Fatigue and Dysautonomia in the context of Hypermobility and Long Covid”

Presented online by Nathan Butler and Jacqui Main (Vic) 

Cobranded by and therefore free for members of these special interest groups: 

  • Sports and Exercise 
  • Paediatric 
  • Occupational Health 

Link to join here

Hypermobility Advocacy Team Members 

Juliet Hall is the founder and director of Bodyfit Physio in Northcote, Melbourne, which provides a variety of physio services for adults and children including musculoskeletal, neurological, women’s health, adolescent health and paediatric development. Her interest in hypermobility springs from discovering a need for quality management and advocacy for this cohort. Juliet’s vision is to foster connection and collaboration in order to create meaningful change, and this project provided an opportunity too valuable to pass by. She is very proud to work with a group of such wonderful clinicians and is looking forward to seeing you as part of the next generation of practitioners to begin to explore the implications of hypermobility.  EMAIL JULIET

Sharon Hennessey is the principal physiotherapist and founder of Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services– a private musculoskeletal practice in Brisbane, for those with complex hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Sharon has had a passion for treating hypermobility throughout her 24 years as a physiotherapist and in the past seven years her caseload has been focused on this group. Sharon enjoys sharing her passion with others and has presented to APA special interest groups, to the EDS Echo program and provides small group training of physiotherapists as well as presenting a poster at the EDS Echo summit in 2020. EMAIL SHARON

Pauline Slater Pauline Slater is a Principal Physiotherapist and founder of Bendy Bodies Hypermobility Physiotherapy and Learn to Move-Move to Learn Physiotherapy in Adelaide, assisting clients of all ages with learning difficulties, complex musculoskeletal, health, and pain conditions. Through her 30-year career and extensive professional development, including the UK and Australasian EDS-ECHO courses, and a Master of Education, Pauline has developed her skills and knowledge to treat Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD), Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and children’s neuroeducational disorders. Pauline is currently applying for approval to conduct a PhD, which will examine “Preconceptions, awareness and educational access in Australia for the medical and allied health professions regarding EDS, hEDS, and HSD, and the often-seen comorbidity of POTS”. EMAIL PAULINE 

Nicole Frost is the founder and director of Flex-Ability Physio, a practice focused on the management of issues related to Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD). Along with her clinical experience treating clients with HSD, Nicole has pursued extensive professional development, authored publications and participates in teaching and international committees on issues related to HSD. EMAIL NICOLE 

Katie Cleary (Roth) is a Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist and the Founding Director of Ocean Kids  – A Private allied health service supporting Victorian babies and children. Katie’s passion and understanding of hypermobility began when treating young dancers and athletes at Dance Medicine Australia in 2011. Over the past 11 years in both public and private sectors, Katie has developed and provided specialised Physiotherapy services and programs to support children and adolescents living with EDS & HSD. Katie has completed extensive professional development in hypermobility management, including the Paediatric ECHO program. Katie is a member of Paediatric working group with The International Consortium on Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders. EMAIL KATIE

Clare Adams is Senior Physiotherapist working within Queensland Health at Redcliffe Hospital. Clare is a clinician and researcher with a particular interest in hypermobility spectrum disorders, paediatric and adult pelvic health, and neuro-immune responses to pain.

Jacqui Main is an Exercise Physiologist at Active Health Clinic in Melbourne which is a private business specialising in the treatment of invisible illnesses including complex Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), ME/CFS, Autonomic Dysregulation Syndromes (OI&POTS), Pain Syndromes, and Long-COVID. Living with the conditions herself, this has driven her passion to advocate and support those on a similar pathway and the expansion of her specialised knowledge. Jacqui has undertaken multiple EDS ECHO courses and she has been invited to present at the Global Learning Conference in Arizona on Hormones and Hypermobility in August 2022. EMAIL JACQUI

Nathan Butler is the director of award-winning Active Health Clinic and COVID Recovery Initiative. Nathan was awarded the 2020-2021 Exercise Physiologist of the Year (AAHA) and is a leader in ‘Invisible Illnesses’ including long COVID / PASC, fatigue syndromes, pain sensitisation, central sleep disorders and OI/POTS with 20+ years and over 20,000 hours of direct clinical work as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. He is also a sessional lecturer at La Trobe University and speaker including television, print and audio helping to make invisible illnesses visible. EMAIL NATHAN (Nathan is currently on LSL. Jacqui can be contacted in his absence).

Useful resources for clinicians  

Assessing patients for hypermobility 

EDS ECHO Program for clinicians – Professional Development 

Full Articles of American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics. Special edition on EDS and Hypermobility 

Global Healthcare Practitioner Directory – specialists in hypermobility, EDS and HSD.

hEDS Diagnostic Checklist  

Hypermobility in children – By Katie Cleary, Physiotherapist

Hypermobility Syndromes Association

In Motion Article (APA) – Not a cervicogenic headache? August 2020, p 27-30

Special links for education of clients collated by physiotherapist, Sharon Hennessey 

What is EDS/HSD 

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  • Kaye Crowther

    Love this! I am a Physio with special interest in hyper mobility, especially related to EDS, epilepsy, CSF leaks, womens’ health conditions and vascular issues and am a member of several groups relating to these issues. I would love to be involved in this group.

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