What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (composed from the Latin word fibro- [for the fibrous tissue] and the Greek words myo- [muscle] and algos [pain]) is a term that describes a frequent (affecting about 5% of the population, regardless of age, hence even children) and chronic disorder which is characterized by soreness distributed in many body spots and non-targeted tenderness; still, it does not trigger inflammation or any impairment to muscles, joints and other tissues – and that’s why fibromyalgia cannot be considered as a type of arthritis. The main characteristics of fibromyalgia (pain and fatigue) are such that, in more severe cases, can significantly impede an individual from pulling off their everyday routine.
Although the exact causative factors of the disorder are yet unidentified to a great extent, scientists have concluded that a series of parameters can contribute to its occurrence. These are:
- Genetic factors, which may bring about unusual procession of stimulants, causing the impaired individual to react exceedingly to a stimulant that could be considered as not painful for most ordinary people
- Psychological issues (i.e. an emotionally nerve-wracking incident)
- Several disorders affecting the central nervous system
Still, research which could cast more light to the true causes of fibromyalgia continues.
Being more a syndrome rather than an affliction, fibromyalgia can be identified by a number of signs; so, these are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Muscle pain spreading on many body spots
- Sleep difficulties
- Tenderness sensed in at least 18 tender points detected by medical care professionals
- Morning stiffness
- Muscle tangles
- Balance problems
- Complications in digestion
Fibromyalgia Stretching Exercises
All the stretches listed below aim at strengthening the connective tissues and toning the associated muscles (among the most important benefits of stretching), hence providing substantial relief from the discomfort caused by this disease and are an excellent option for efficient fibromyalgia treatment. The majority of them are already known to you by their presentation in other posts, but their effectiveness is also welcome when it comes to deal with fibromyalgia! These are almost all the stretches for thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back (such as the knee-to-chest stretch), calves (especially the standing calf stretch – photo 5) and chest/shoulders (like the doorway stretch) and , performed either in a static/active, static/passive form or, more appropriately, in the dynamic mode.
Is we should choose only a few of them that are really efficient in terms of fibromyalgia symptoms relief we would focus on the following:
- The classic touch-your-toes stretch, also in its dynamic form; stand erect with your knees slightly bent, and lean to the floor so as to touch your toes, or as far as you can go without sensing any abnormal pull; do this routine for 15-20 times in 3-4 sets (photo 1).
- A dynamic stretch; stand upright and start shrugging your shoulders in a circular motion without leaning forward; carry out 15-20 repetitions in a fluid, moving motion, and do not stop until you complete 3-5 sets (photo 2).
- An static/active exercise, which can benefit a fibromyalgia sufferer; standing or seated, with your arms bent in front of your chest and the palms facing each other; now, isometrically press those pals hard, holding that position for 5-10 seconds; release the pressure, take some rest for 5-10 seconds and repeat, this time holding the press for more seconds; do 3-5 sets of this stretch (photo 3).
- Returning to dynamic-type stretching, here is another effective hamstring stretch for fibromyalgia; stand with your feet flat on floor; place the left foot in front of the right and – gently! – lean forward to perform a lunge; go back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg; carry on until you complete 10-15 repetitions for each foot (or 20-30 in total) (photo 4).
Important Notice: Remember that, given that most fibromyalgia stretches are more effective when carried out in a dynamic form, it is easy for the trainee to be drawn away and start bouncing and swinging uncontrollably; however, these must be completely avoided, as they can bring about serious damage to the joints!
Photos & Videos
The multimedia below give a clear image of the aformentioned stretches! Have a look:
Other Fibromyalgia Treatment Options
Here are some other potential fibromyalgia treatments and steps, which can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the above described stretches:
- Staying as energetic as possible with a series of activities which promote fitness and muscle strength (such as walking, swimming, cycling etc.)
- Using fibromyalgia medications (such as anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Trying heat applications, which can greatly alleviate soreness and stiffness through achieving enhanced blood circulation and altering the perception of the pain
- Resorting to physical therapy
- Getting sleep of greater quantity and of higher quality
Fibromyalgia is a burdensome situation that, despite that it cannot completely be “cured”, can be tackled to a great extent by a series of stretching exercises which are designed to upgrade flexibility on legs, spine and arms and relax them; those exercises, however, should be carried out with extreme care, because overdoing it can result in an injury, thus making this worse in terms of discomfort and fatigue. In any case, consult a certified medical care professional so as to get the maximum outcome without jeopardizing anything!
Category: Stretches and Diseases