Stretching to Heal and Reverse Fibromyalgia

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Ok, let’s talk about stretching to heal and reverse fibromyalgia.

What Kind of Stretches are Effective with Fibromyalgia
How Stretching Helped me Cure Fibromyalgia
How to Avoid Pain or Spasm When Stretching

Stretching is one of the most effective things that ANYONE can do to have a body with less aches and pains and more natural, good-feeling movement.

For some reason, stretching is not a commonly recommended therapy for fibromyalgia and I think this is a huge mistake.

On-the-floor, supported, restorative stretches were one of the most effective things I ever did to help me reverse fibromyalgia.

Of course, there is a way to stretch that is ineffective at helping fibromyalgia, and there is a way to stretch that can actually be painful in fibromyalgia. I can help you avoid these.

What Kind of Stretching is Effective with Fibromyalgia

Gentle, restorative, yoga-type stretches, in my experience, are the stretches that work the best for fibromyalgia. They don’t create more pain if you do them correctly. They do relax muscles and nervous system and allow for healing of muscles.

In my experience, a stretch is gentle when there is no pain or intensity associated with it. A pulling sensation is felt, but it does not hurt in any way.

In my opinion, a stretch is yoga-type if there is deep, intentional breathing associated with it, if it is held for more than a minute, and if much attention is paid to proper body positioning, and if there is a recovery period after the stretch period (like savasana).

In my opinion, a stretch is restorative if all of the other muscles in the body can be fully relaxed during the stretch. On the floor stretches with lots of pillows and bolsters are especially restorative.

So, a fibromyalgia-reversing stretch would have the following components:

  1. it is held for more than a minute (generally a few minutes to 20 or more minutes)
  2. The person who is doing the stretch breathes deeply and slowly and pays attention to their body during it
  3. it is done on the floor with all body parts fully supported
  4. there is never any pain or intensity
  5. at the end the stretcher is sure to lie in a neutral position until all sensations cease

How Stretching Helped me Cure Fibromyalgia

I didn’t discover restorative stretches until I was about 3 years into reversing my firbomyalgia, which is unfortunate – I think I could have reversed it a lot quicker if I knew about it in year 1.

In year three, I bought the Yoga Therapy Prescriptions DVD and put it in to do one of the sequences. The third or so pose was supported child’s pose and once I got in it, it felt so good that the tape just played on an on while I stayed in it.

There were a a few other poses that the dvd put me into that my body just screamed YES, YES while I was in it. I started doing just these poses that felt so good for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes at a time.

and I started getting SO MUCH BETTER

My levels of pain went down. I was taking less medication. I slept better.

It was amazing. There was a period in my healing when I did three restorative stretches for an hour in the morning and another 40 mintues in the evening. This was the time when I got better the fastest – when my healing was the most profound.

So Why was the Stretching Helping Me?

I believe that fibromyalgia is caused by several things, but mostly by fatigued adrenals, by stress chemicals stored in tissues, by an overactive nervous system, by chronic muscle tension and mind anxiety, and by muscles that become so chronically tightened and shortened by all of the above that they are constantly painful.

So, restorative stretching starts reversing ALL of these. First, it trained me to become more relaxed. Then it gave me a tool to use when I felt myself getting anxious. Then, it gave my mind some ‘space’ and trained it to be still and peaceful.

THEN, it started lengthening my muscles and allowing the stress chemicals to circulate out and the oxygen to circulate in, and this let some of the trigger points and scar tissue heal. I love these stretches :) .

These days, I feel wonderful, and I still do these stretches. I do yoga daily, and any time I feel like I just need a pick-me-up or some relaxation, I get down into my supported, on-the-floor, restorative stretches.

As soon as my body hits the bolster I can feel my breathing automatically deepen and all my muscles relax. It’s an automatic thing that I have trained my body into and it is SO VALUABLE.

What would it mean to you to have a tool that would allow you to relax your whole body at will? Even if you were in pain?

Do you think that would be valuable?

Well, it’s nothing anyone can give you or do for you. You have to train your body into it. If I did it, you can do it, I promise you. I was the most high-strung, anxious, angry, tense, pained person ever, and I’ve learned a different way of being.

My book, 30 Days to Feel Better from Fibromyalgia, will introduce you to all my best stretches in a manner similar to how I started doing them. No pain or strain and minimal fuss. Check it out – I think you’ll be glad you did. (especially when you don’t have fibromyalgia anymore) :)

How to Avoid Pain or Spasm When Stretching

With Fibromyalgia, your tissues are so glued together, crammed full of stress chemicals, full of trigger points and scar tissue that you have to be really easy on yourself.

Anything new and aggressive can cause you much, much more pain. I have overdone things to the point where I have been nauseous and crying and once I almost went to the ER. Don’t do this.

Your neck muscles and stomach muscles in my experience are the ones to be the MOST careful with. These are the ones that can make you feel like you want to puke or die.

Principle Number 1 with Fibromyalgia Stretching

Never stretch to an intensity of more than 3 or 4. If 0 is no pain or intensity and 10 is the most pain you’ve ever felt, stick lower than a 4. You want to feel a gentle pulling sensation only.

The first time you ever do a stretch, you want to feel only a 2! that way if these muscles really do you in, you have only gently messed with them.

Principle Number 2 with Firbomyalgia Stretching

If the stretching is painful or intense, you will probably benefit from trigger point massage FIRST and then stretching. Stretching muscles that are full of trigger points is ineffective and painful.

Once you release some of the trigger points, stretching can be pleasant, healing, and effective.

I learned to do self trigger point work with this book.

If you follow the order in my book, 30 Days to Feel Better from Fibromyalgia, you should never be in danger of more pain.

30 Days to Feel Better From Fibromyalgia is my book on how to feel better fast that anyone should be able to read, even on their worst day!

(it's broken up into a little bit of info and a restorative exercise a day) Click Here to See it!

8 thoughts on “Stretching to Heal and Reverse Fibromyalgia

  1. Hi Aaron, thanks for the article. I like what it says about ‘they stop thinking of themselves as fibromyalgia patients’ – this is extremely important to healing.

    However, increased levels of exercise alone will not cure fibromyalgia in my experience. In years 2 to 3 of my recovery I walked four miles a day sometimes and even did some weight training.

    This fairly high level of exercise for someone with fibromyalgia only kept my pain levels at bay. I went as far with exercise as I felt I could but then I had to keep looking.

    Stretching and trigger point therapy was my ultimate answer.

  2. Would you say you are now cured from fibromyalgia or is the disease well controlled with the stretching and breathing?

  3. Hi Susan, now that’s THE question … isn’t it. :) Many people would not agree with what I am about to say, because they believe fibromyalgia is a disease.

    I believe fibromyalgia is a result of a type of lifestyle and mindset that most people in this country have, and some of us progress to fibromyalgia because that is where we have a ‘weakness’. You know, like some people are prone to getting sore throats and some people get asthma and some people will always be thin and some people tend towards being more overweight … well some of us tend towards tighter fascia and muscles (maybe because of more constant tension – I’m not sure)

    With me, too, I think that I developed fibro because I have a higher tolerance to pain, so I didn’t notice when I was tight and sore and I just kept going, going, going till it all crashed in on me.

    Anyway, to answer your question, I believe I am cured, and I started to believe that in maybe year … 5 of my recovery. I am now in year 8.

    I ALSO believe though, that if I ever went back to my old way of not-being-mindful of how my body is feeling and I am feeling I could get fibro back, and probably much quicker this time – like within a year instead of 30 years.

    • I really like this self-diagnosis of yours! I really feel that it is important for us to view ourselves as…ourselves. I have been very interested in the philosophies behind Chinese medicine, which treats individuals, not diseases. I can’t find any decent practitioner of Chinese medicine and I don’t exactly have it in me to get a degree in it any time soon, so all I can do is take the most abstracted pieces from it.

      And from that, I’ve gathered that just because someone has a certain type of cancer doesn’t mean that it effects each individual body in the exact same way. Similarly, fibromyalgia which is even less “concrete” of a diagnosis than cancer, simply cannot manifest the same in each body. I like to think of my “fibromyalgia” as a series of things gone rather wrong in my life and in my system, and I need to systemically work on these issues.

      First, I’ve been focusing on self esteem and confidence. I’ve always been scattered and confused and a giant armchair for everyone to flop on. I’ve spent a couple of years learning to be mindful and aware. I’ve also been exercising…and I’ve been pushing myself. I agree that I think I have an exceedingly high tolerance for pain. Practicing meditation has made me realize that even doing half of a sun-salutation (not even getting to the down-dog part) makes my shoulders and back extremely sore. I can’t even imagine what I’ve been putting myself through by forcing through a number of other exercises. I found your site because I’m trying to humble myself and go all the way back to the beginning and start with simple, simple, simple stretches. I really appreciate your perspective and your focus!

      • thanks so much! :) I think you would be better off starting with self trigger point massage though. Release the trigger points in the muscle and the stretches won’t hurt so much and will be so much more effective.

        It’s amazing the growth that fibro can cause :) Lisa

  4. I have severe fibromyalgia. My whole body feels like it’s on fire and my muscles are very tight. I used to do Callanetics years ago but got away from it and maybe I’m paying now. What do you think of starting up again with this exercise?
    Also I might give your DVD a try.
    Please reply.

    • Hi Linda,

      I had a lot of success with restorative yoga. I walked every day even when I had fibro and there was no healing involved with that exercise. As soon as I started restorative yoga, I started healing. Lisa

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