How Stretching can Help Reduce Swelling


Image: Baranq

Fibromyalgia swelling is something a lot of people with the fibromyalgia have to deal with on a daily basis. And painful, swollen hands and feet make daily tasks hard for a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers. And there is also, of course, the constant pain of having swollen joints and limbs.

A lot of the time, people with swollen joints turn to stretching for fibromyalgia, which can help restore the flow of blood and healing cells to the affected limbs.

But can simply stretching for fibromyalgia help manage your symptoms? And if so, which stretches are best?

What causes fibromyalgia swelling?

Swelling, or edema, is caused by the building up of fluid underneath the skin. Usually, it is caused by injury. But diseases like fibromyalgia also cause the blood vessels in your body to release fluid which leads to swelling.

There is some debate about why this happens. Some of the theories include inflammation caused by the body’s immune response or possibly a neurological response.

Either way, with fibromyalgia swelling, the hands and feet are afflicted most often. And that can be intensely painful as they are not things you can really avoid using very easily. Luckily, stretching for fibromyalgia is something you can do at home that can help manage the pain.

How Does Stretching Help?

Stretching is believed to help with swelling because it encourages more circulation to the affected area. And the extra circulation helps to remove the fluid that leaks into your joints and pull it back into the bloodstream.

In addition, the extra blood carries with it the white blood cells and platelets that will begin to repair any damaged tissue.

So stretching for fibromyalgia can help reduce fibromyalgia swelling in an affected joint and promote healing which are the first steps towards managing it.

Stretching for fibromyalgia

Peroneal Stretch

The peroneal muscles are located on the outside of your legs and help with extending your ankle. A swollen peroneal muscle can make walking difficult because it is hard to flex your ankle. So to stretch your peroneal muscles try this simple stretch:

  • Tilt your foot to the side so that the outside of your foot is flat against the ground.
  • Gradually shift your weight onto your foot until you feel the muscles on the outside of your leg begin to stretch.
  • Repeat on the other side of your body.

Be careful when performing this stretch that you don’t shift too quickly onto your foot as you run the risk of spraining your ankle.

Shin Stretch

The muscles in your shin also help flex your ankle, though in a different direction. And a swollen shin can be very painful since a lot of nerves are located in that area. The best way to stretch out your shin is with a simple foam roller, which you can pick up in any running or athletics store, or online:

  • Place the toe of your shoe on the ground and lift your knee up onto the foam roller.
  • Slowly lean back onto your heel so that your foot is stretched out with the ankle being flexed downward towards the floor.
  • Keep the top of your foot on the ground so it doesn’t get deviate to the side, which could lead to injury.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Calf Stretches

Your calves are located on your the back of your leg, below the knee. They essentially perform the same action as the muscles in your shin, but from the other side. To stretch out your calf, this is a very effective exercise:

  • Put the tip of your foot on a step, roller, or other raised surface and gradually lower your body weight into onto it.
  • Keep your knee straight and you will begin to feel the muscles in your calf flexing.
  • You can also stretch the muscles in your lower calf by taking a squatting position and doing the same thing.

Quad Stretches

The quadriceps muscles are the large muscle on the front of your leg above the knee. They handle the motion that comes from lifting your legs and extending your lower leg back and forth. To stretch out your quads, you can do this easy exercise:

  • Stand up and lift your leg up behind you so that you’re standing on one leg with one knee pointed at the ground.
  • Grab the foot you have lifted in the air with your hand and pull it upwards.
  • Try to balance against a wall to keep from falling as you stretch out your quads.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Fore Arm Stretches

There are a number of different muscles in your forearms which control the movement of your hands and fingers. And stretching for fibromyalgia pain will help deal with a swollen hand. A lot of the pain that radiates into your wrist and hand actual starts in the forearm. That’s why stretching for fibromyalgia can help restore a lot of mobility to your hands if they’re painfully swollen.

  • Stick your arm out in front of you with the palm open and your fingers pointed towards the floor.
  • Then grip your fingers with your other hand and slowly pull your hand back towards your forearm.
  • You should begin to feel the muscles in your forearm stretching.

Wrist Extensor Stretch

Finally, the wrist extensor muscles are a common place to experience swelling. These muscles control the movement of your wrist and can be stretched like this:

  • Bring your wrists up underneath your arm pits with the palms facing away.
  • Now slowly bring your elbows in towards your sides.
  • You will feel the muscles in your wrist begin to stretch.

Of course, fibromyalgia is different for everyone. And no two people experience the exact same symptoms. Stretches that are effective for one person with fibromyalgia may not work as well for someone else with the same condition.

So, help us out. Do you experience fibromyalgia swelling, and does stretching for fibromyalgia help with your symptoms? Do you have any other stretches that are effective? Tell us in the comments.