Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, joint hypermobility-related disorders and pain: expanding body-mind connections to the developmental age

  • Carolina Baeza-Velasco
  • Lorenzo Sinibaldi
  • Marco Castori
Review Article


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and generalized joint hypermobility (JH) are two separated conditions, assessed, and managed by different specialists without overlapping interests. Recently, some researchers highlighted an unexpected association between these two clinical entities. This happens in a scenario of increasing awareness on the protean detrimental effects that congenital anomalies of the connective tissue may have on human health and development. To review pertinent literature to identify possible connections between ADHD and GJH, special emphasis was put on musculoskeletal pain and syndromic presentations of GJH, particularly the hypermobile Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. A comprehensive search of scientific databases and references lists was conducted, encompassing publications based on qualitative and quantitative research. Impaired coordination and proprioception, fatigue, chronic pain, and dysautonomia are identified as potential bridges between ADHD and JH. Based on these findings, a map of the pathophysiological and psychopathological pathways connecting both conditions is proposed. Although ADHD and JH are traditionally separated human attributes, their association may testify for the dyadic nature of mind-body connections during critical periods of post-natal development. Such a mixed picture has potentially important consequences in terms of disability and deserves more clinical and research attention.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Connective tissue Developmental coordination disorder Ehlers–Danlos syndrome Fibromyalgia Joint hypermobility Pain 



The authors wish to thank all the participants in the International Classification of EDS and related disorders.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Psychopathology and Health ProcessesUniversity Paris Descartes - Sorbonne Paris CitéBoulogne BillancourtFrance
  2. 2.INSERM U1061 Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research, Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Acute CareCHU MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Division of Cytology and CytogeneticsBelcolle HospitalViterboItaly
  4. 4.Division of Medical GeneticsIRCCS-Casa Sollievo della SofferenzaSan Giovanni RotondoItaly
  5. 5.Institut de PsychologieUniversité Paris DescartesBoulogne-Billancourt CedexFrance

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