Stretching and Fibromyalgia

stretchingStretching is important to any exercise routine but is considered one of the best exercises for fibromyalgia sufferers.  I know that if I don’t stretch every day I’m more stiff, sore and tired than if I do.

Gentle stretching, meaning just to the point where you feel the stretch not to where it hurts will do good things like:

  • Helping you to fall asleep quicker and not wake up as often during the night.
  • Elongates the muscles so you don’t feel as stiff.
  • Increases flexibility to help you get the full range of motion in your joints.
  • Meditation and stretching are a great combination to help you relax.

There are different types of stretching techniques.  Some of them are too strenuous for fibromyalgia sufferers so you need to be careful about which type you do. These are the two types that work the best for those of us with fibromyalgia.

Passive stretching is they kind of stretching we do when we first wake up, before we go to bed, or before and after aerobic exercise.  You can use your arms or some other part of your body to stretch your opposite arm or you legs.  Hold the stretch for a minimum of ten seconds and release.  This type of stretching really helps get rid of and prevent muscle spasms that go with fibromyalgia.

Isometric stretching involves no motion.  It consists of tensing and relaxing a set of muscles and can be done any time, any where. Every time you tense the muscles, hold for a few seconds and release. This type of stretching will help you build muscle and stamina.

Some tips for good stretching are:

  • Before you stretch you need to warm up your muscles.  Go for a quick walk or take a warm shower or bath to get the muscles ready.
  • Focus on your breathing.  In through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Start with only one repetition if you are just beginning.  Work up to more repetitions as you get more flexible and stronger.
  • Baby sore muscles.  Don’t do as many stretches on a muscle that is already very sore.  You could injure the muscle if you over work it.
  • Stretch only until you feel resistance.  Pain means possible injury.
  • Really sore and stiff? Try to find a warm water pool and do your stretching in it.  Warm water helps relax the muscles.
  • Have a friend help you if you can’t hold a stretch for very long.  This does just as much good as if you do it yourself.

I have an inversion bench and that really helps stretch muscles.  Keep the inversion at an angle rather than all the way upside down.  This will stretch your back, sides, and abdominal muscles gently.  While I’m inverted I try to raise my arms over my head as much as possible.  This stretches your pectoral muscles and arm muscles without you doing any of the work. I find that if I am at too steep of an angle or reach over my head too much I will sometimes get muscle spasms in my back.  As a result, I do this gradually until my muscles get used to the stretch.


Stretching and Fibromyalgia












10 Responses to “Stretching and Fibromyalgia”

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    • Jahinger says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on posture and range of motion. As a chiropractor, I use this concept a lot in my practice. Actually though, I find that it is the posture that has the effect on range of motion. My emphasis on this has to do with the effect that head/neck posture has on the upper extremity range of motion. As you know, much of the population has a forward translation of the head in relation to the rest of the body. This causes a lot of tension in the upper extremities and usually results in a reduced range of motion of the shoulders and arms. I use this concept in treating my athlete patients who largely benefit from having increased range in their upper extremities. Especially golfers, tennis and volleyball players. Hope this helps.Thanks again for your advice!

      • linda says:

        Thanks for your input. I’m among those who have a forward translation and feel that this could definitely be a factor in the pain I have. I visit a chiropractor regularly and always feel better after I do. Unfortunately, the pain I have keeps me from exercising as much as I should.

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    • Aom says:

      Not only do they both feel good and therefore are good for your greneal health but they both have loads of extra benefits. Pilates strengthens the core of your body which means you have better posture and as a side effect of that less digesitive issues. Yoga’s benefits are endless. If you’re interested check out Yoga Journal’s website ( They list the additional benefits of each pose (asana)!

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