Stretching (to increase body flexibility)
There are various forms of stretching, and they are not all appropriate for persons with fibromyalgia. You should contact your physician or therapist before starting any stretching routine….especially if you have Ehlers Danlos (“hyper-mobility /double-jointedness”).
Stretching should always be enjoyable, never rushed or painful. Remember to always warm up before you start, and to breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. If you have a lot of stiffness, you may find it very beneficial to start a stretching program in warm water as this is easier on the muscles. If you find it hard to hold a stretch, you may require assistance.
I have briefly covered the idea behind five of the most-practiced forms of stretching.
- Yoga stretches – are well known for helping to restore flexibility and strength to your body (as well as reducing stress levels).
- Passive stretching – is similar to the routines used at the beginning or end of aerobic exercise.
- Isometric Stretching – is used to increase strength and stamina of muscles. It involves the clenching and relaxing of muscles. Isometric stretching is easy to do and can be done at work or home.
- Active stretching – can be somewhat challenging for most people with FMS. If you can, over time, develop even a small degree of success in this type of stretching, you should see an increase in muscle strength and flexibility. First you stretch and then hold that stretch for about 10 seconds. You use only muscle strength to hold the position….no assistance from hands.
- Dynamic stretching – This type of stretching can be very harmful and should only be done under the guidance of a professional therapist. It involves very slowly and very carefully stretching your body, allowing the target joint to reach its full range of motion, such as extending your leg out in front of you as far as it can go. It is recommended that you not use this if you have Ehlers Danlos.
- With Dynamic Stretching, you must not bounce or use quick movements in reaching your goal, as this could cause serious damage to your joints. You must never force yourself if you cannot reach full range of movement at first. Take your time and realize that this can only be achieved over time and cannot be rushed.