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Dr. Pellegrino's advice for exercising with FM

I have found that there are two components of exercise that, in combination, seem to work best for fibromyalgia patients. They are stretching and a light conditioning programme.  I consider stretching a form of exercise that is readily available wherever we are. Because fibromyalgia muscles are so tight, they are more vulnerable to sprains and strains, so it is especially important that this tightness be counteracted by stretching. Stretching can de done in bed, in the shower, at work, at home and just about anywhere and anytime. It is a vital part of the fibromyalgia person’s home programme and if I had to choose one thing to recommend, it would be stretching.

Stretching should be done regularly and consistently. An initial approach is to train the individual in self-passive stretching techniques. These do not require any specific equipment and can be done on different body parts including head, neck, trunk, shoulders, upper body, low back, hips and legs. Dozens of stretching exercises are possible and all of them can be beneficial for given individuals when properly instructed. With stretching, one should achieve increased flexibility, decrease pain and, ultimately, decrease vulnerability to muscle sprains and flare-ups.

One should move slowly and gently when stretching without jerking or bouncing the soft tissues. We teach patients to find a feeling of stretch within their comfort zone, and they practise deep breathing exercises as part of the stretching. Exercises using elastic bands can combine dynamic stretching with strengthening of the muscles.




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