Centre for Applied Research on Social Sciences and Law

Multidisciplinary treatment for hypermobile adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal pain


Background: To determine whether adolescents with generalized hypermobility spectrum disorder/hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (G-HSD/hEDS) show changes in the level of disability, physical functioning, perceived harmfulness and pain intensity after completing multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment.<br/><br/>Methods: Pre-test post-test design. Fourteen adolescents with G-HSD/hEDS participated. The multi-disciplinary rehabilitation treatment consisted of a combination of physical training and exposure in vivo. Physical training aims to improve aerobic capacity, muscle strength and propriocepsis for compensating hypermobility. Exposure in vivo aims to decrease disability and pain-related fear. Pre- and post-treatment assessments were conducted to assess the level of disability, physical functioning (motor performance, muscle strength and physical activity level), perceived harmfulness and pain intensity.<br/><br/>Results: After completing multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment, the adolescents showed a significant and clinically relevant improvement (improvement of 67%, p < 0.01) in functional disability. Furthermore, significant improvements were found in motor performance (p < 0.01), muscle strength (p < 0.05), perceived harmfulness (p < 0.01) and pain intensity (p < 0.01) after completing multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment.<br/><br/>Conclusion: Multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment leads to a significantly and clinically relevant improvement in the level of disability for adolescents with G-HSD/hEDS. Positive effects were also found in physical functioning, perceived harmfulness and pain intensity. Although the results of this multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment for adolescents with G-HSD/hEDS are promising, further study is needed to confirm these findings in a randomized design.

Reference van Meulenbroek, T., Conijn, A. E. A., Huijnen, I. P. J., Engelbert, R. H. H., & Verbunt, J. A. (2020). Multidisciplinary treatment for hypermobile adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine - Clinical Communications, 3, Article 1000033. https://doi.org/10.2340/20030711-1000033
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2020

Publication date

Jan 2020


Thijs van Meulenbroek
Arnoud E. A. Conijn
Ivan P. J. Huijnen
Jeanine A. Verbunt


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