free gym use on the nhs??

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joko | 19:22 Thu 01st Jun 2006 | Body & Soul
13 Answers


I suffer terribly with hypermobility - i feel like i should be 6" taller and wider but feel crushed and ache all the time - i also clock watch for my next pain-killers

i have heard that obese people can get free gym membership

i was wondering if anyone thought i may be able to get that myself, as i can't afford the membership fees.

i thought use of stretching machines and steam rooms and vibrating beds or whatever, may help me.

even perhaps if they did some kind of stretching classes or yoga or something

i also have been advised to strengthen my back to support the skeleton better

anyone know anything??

thanks all


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Hello Joko,

I suffer from depression and had been told that i would qualify for a free gym pass, mainly because exercise lifts the spirits. Then i was told that i couldn't have one because i lived in the wrong area! My GP was furious and upset that she'd not done her homework before mentioning it, bless her.

Your best bet would be to ask your GP, if you do qualify and you are in the right area (fingers crossed for you) then that's who you'll get your referral from. You might as well just go straight to the head honcho and get the answer straight off.

Good luck and i hope you're feeling better soon x

Well Joko you will be pleased to know that again you have done me a favour this evening. I have just looked at this site:

and found that I am hypermobile. I am 59 and suffer from arthritis. My doctor said that I had 'loose ligaments' and now I understand the problem. Thanks. I was constantly in pain when young and, although not quite so flexible can still do all the things on that site that indicate hypermobility!!! People used to say that I was weird because I could bend my thumbs back to my forearm and turn my elbows 'inside out', etc. etc.

My son seems to have inherited the condition. He has constantly been twisting his joints and dislocating them since he was a child and it made sports a nighmare.

I have been given exercises by an NHS physio to strenthen my back. I fractured a vertebra at Christmas. The exercises are also to improve posture and relieve the constant aching. It might help you to see a physio rather than go to the gym. I am also told that pilates is the best possible thing for strengthening the back and maintaining good posture.

Thanks once again.

Question Author

thats great gessoo, glad to help - but what else did i do to help? you said again...

i have seen a physio, but they basically gave me a piece of paper with a few exercises on and would ask me to lean forward then send me on my pretty useless really - i really need an osteopath but can't afford it regularly

You made me laugh a few threads down in the 'stockings' thread Joko!

I might try pilates. I am told it is better than Yoga for back strengthening. Have taken up swimming again.

As for free membership of a Gym, I can hardly see our practice paying out for that! It took long enough to get to see a physio!!

My previous doctors offered discounted gym membership at the local college it was about �3 for 3months. my current one only offers 1 free session a week so it depends on what your medical centre offers.

hi joko, not sure about the free gym membership, but I have fibromyalgia and hypermobility too (it seems to go hand in hand with the fibro) I was advised by the physiotherapist to do repetive stretching excercises for both conditions. To be honest I did excercise every day for years and it never seemed to make a difference so I packed in. Sorry that isnt much help, but its just didnt work for me. Hope you manage to sort something out with the free gym, I know how painful and frustrating it can be so good luck :)

gessoo, I know what you mean with the flexibility, I often sit here and bend my hands and stuff into odd shapes and say 'heeeheee bet you cant do that' to my husband and friends. Though saying that, its not funny when trying to cross a busy road knowing that my knee may pop out halfway over :(

Hi Pixi. I have been (probably still am) am ME sufferer and have osteo arthritis and trace rheumatoid. I had honestly never heard of hypermobility until this link. Dr just said that me and my son had 'loose ligaments'. I understand it better now. We come from a tall, slender family with long limbs and long fingers, etc. so it all fits in with that link I posted further up. I have stiffened up somewhat over the years (I used to be able to touch the top of my forearm with my thumb!!!!) but can still do all the things on that link!!) The amount of aches and pains I have doesn't tie up with my osteo xrays and know I know just why. My poor son's knees, hips and shoulders are always popping out of place although he is used to it now.

I would point out that the tall and 'slender' bit has altered somewhat in my case! Even lost some height!!! Poor old Gal.


oh bless your son gessoo, its so frustrating and painful. It must be really awful being young and active and having it :(

The doctor who diagnosed me with it a few years ago said that there was nothing they could do about it and told me that when (not if !) I get arthiritis when I get older that my joints would become less flexible and not pop out as much. Theres something to look forward to eh? lol Thankfully I dont have it as bad as some people I have heard about with it. Its mainly my fingers, wrists and knees that pop out and usually they go straight back in, though sometimes I have to pop them back :( Very occasionally my hip does it too, and once or twice my shoulder has done it, they are killers, Im so glad they dont do it regularly

Question Author

Hi guys

it seems i am an oddball.
everyone i speak to that has this, has bendy fingers and legs and joints that pop out etc - i don't - i can't bend anything, nor does anything pop out, though my arms do 'straighten' a bit further that they should, and pretty much every bone in my body grinds and cracks like you wouldn't believe.
i have to force them to crack to otherwise i can't move properly.

my probem is purely my neck and spine and hips.

a physio and and osteopath both told me i had it.
they wiggled my head in a certain way and said if i didn't have HM it would mean i had a broken neck!

he also pressed down on my back and said to breath out while he did it.
then he said to do it again.
then again...then he nervously said do it again and my ribs and back went down even further and he said that it shouldn't have gone down that far and i should have been in great pain and discomfort and anyone elses would have shattered, and much lower and it would have crushed my organs. he seemed quite amazed.

this is why i think some kind of twisting or stretching machine or even hanging upside down woul dhelp me, as i could just about cope with bendy hands, knees etc but when its the whole core of your body, it is very 'all consuming'

Question Author

sorry pressed submit accidentally.

anyway, i will post on here if i am successful with the gym - you never know it may help you guys too

thanks again

yes there is "free"/ subsidised gym if your GP deems you as overweight or with a problem that would benefit you going to a gym. I had a complete "gym" check by appt at our local gym for �1, then I was able to become a member for about �5 and each session is about �3 and you can use your pass for the pool. Drawback is you can only go in their timings which might not be convenient and you must go twice weekly, they do supervise you though and suggest exactly what apparatus to use. Ask your practise nurse at the surgery, she can sign you up. Good luck.
Hi, I also suffer with this, though I suffer from the dislocated joints variant which led to dislocating my knee in Boots infront of a very surprised shop assistant, I think I scared him by just calmly slotting it back... unfortunately, by self re-locating I've given myself a whole host of knee problems.

Because I can't use high-impact exercise (eg. running), I've discovered that 80's fad of Callanetics, which is (I've found) amazing for hypermobility; it's very gentle on joints and greatly improves muscle strength (which helps to control where your joints are going)
Be warned; its quite hard to do at first, but stick with it and you'll really feel benefits, also it may not help with pain, but I've found that it hurts more when I don't do them.

If you can't find a class, there's a good substitute of dvds and books, but you'll need to be very aware of yourself if you have to resort to this.

Good luck!
not all gyms would offer you a free gym membership just due to the fact that you suffer from hypermobility. The best option is to contact you GP and spek to Him/Her and ask about local innicitives and offers that may be around that can help you out.

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