user

Lourdes

How often do you feel fatigued throughout the day, with a type of stiffness in the muscles that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Are you usually able to pinpoint the cause of that pain? If you aren’t able to come down with an answer, then you may be suffering from fibromyalgia. And to manage it, yoga for fibromyalgia may also be used.

During a flare up, you may only wish to scream, because you have no idea how to stop this pain. The last thing that you probably want to do is move. However, you don’t have to go through full-blown exercising – yoga has proven to be just as helpful. And you’ll soon find out why and how.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects around 5 million people in America – and a lot more throughout the rest of the world. Someone with fibromyalgia will have stiff and sore muscles – but when doctors test for it or try to catch it on an X-ray, nothing ever shows up. Doctors can’t find a cause for it, so they just diagnose it based on the symptoms during an exam.

Fibromyalgia does not typically damage the organs and the joints, which means that it cannot turn into a life-threatening condition. However, with constant pain and fatigue, it can greatly impact your daily life.

Plus, even if the cause cannot be found under the X-ray, this does not mean that the pain isn’t real; it’s very real. You just do not know why it happens. Some doctors suggest chronic stress. Others say it’s because of a chemical or hormonal imbalance that messes up how the body signals pain. Others say it’s a combination of more.

The main point of fibromyalgia is that you will have muscle pain throughout your entire body. However, aside from that, you will also have:

  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain along with tingling or numbness
  • Depression or anxiety

Fibromyalgia has certain tender points of the body that hurt when you press them. This is why this condition is typically diagnosed at the doctor’s office.

Even if the cause cannot be found under the X-ray, the pain is very real.

Why Is Yoga for Fibromyalgia Recommended?

Fibromyalgia usually has a course of treatment that you will need to follow – one that will also involve a change in your diet, along with some medication that you may have to take. In addition to that, yoga for fibromyalgia may have a few benefits, including:

1. It can reduce muscle tension

One of the key factors of fibromyalgia is muscle stiffness or tightness – a tension that prevents you from enjoying your day as you normally would. However, the easy stretching movements of yoga can prevent the muscles from feeling stagnant and seizing up. Even a movement as simple as a forward fold with your knees bent can help relax your back muscles and your hamstrings.

Certain forward folds, such as the wide-legged type, can also help improve the mobility of your hip flexors. It will also keep your muscles warm – and warm muscles will not be as prone to tightness. This should keep your fibromyalgia at bay.

2. It improves your spinal alignment

The human skeleton is wrapped in tendon and muscle, which is beautifully created to hold the entire weight of your body. If something is not aligned properly, you will begin to feel pain and stiffness as a result of that.

When your joints and tendons are in pain, your first instinct might be to cradle or hunch over in an attempt to decrease the pain – all because you have tried before, and you know that it works. That being said, you should know that yoga has a few poses where you are practically “hunched over” – or in yoga words, “folded.”

Yoga for fibromyalgia can help you to properly align your skeletal system, ensuring that your entire body is supported. In addition to spinal alignment and flexibility, the gentle yet consistent type of yoga can also help maintain or build the strength of your muscles. The stronger the muscles, the more support they will be able to provide. Plus, strong and well-maintained muscles will be able to increase your stamina – ensuring that daily tasks will no longer be as difficult.

These benefits of yoga for muscles can be reaped by everyone, regardless of their fitness level. Plus, unlike other types of strenuous exercise, yoga does not have to be intense, hot, or fast-paced. It can very well increase your muscle strength through slow motions and easy poses. In fact, something as simple as seated yoga may very well help you deal with increased muscle pain.

pain stress anxiety
Painful joints and tendons may trigger your instinct to cradle or hunch over to reduce the pain.

3. It improves your mental health and your sleep quality

Fibromyalgia is also supposedly linked to mental health – which is why the final benefit of yoga is improving your mental health. Research shows that yoga can increase the quality of your sleep, along with decreasing your stress levels and promoting the production of endorphins. Long story short, it will help release the “feel good” hormones that will improve your mental health, therefore reducing the triggers of your fibromyalgia flare-ups.

Yoga for Fibromyalgia Poses

Yoga is very capable of reducing your fibro flare-ups and improving your quality of life, provided you do it regularly. At the same time, there are certain poses that are more efficient than others in controlling the condition, among which are the following:

1. Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is one of the go-to moves for fibromyalgia, as it allows you to really get inside yourself, reflect, and just calm your mind. Due to the nature of the child’s pose, the outside stimulus is taken out, allowing you to just focus on your back. If you want an extra bit of stretch, a good addition to this pose is to round your back or to reach your arms forward. This will also give your shoulders a stretch, easing down your muscle tension.

Child's Pose
Extend your arms in front of you to get a good shoulder stretch during Child pose.

2. Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is likely one of the gentlest of poses, but very efficient, nonetheless. It goes the opposite way of your regular upright position, allowing your muscles from the legs and the hips to relax and stretch. Plus, since you’re going against gravity here, this posture can reduce fatigue and swelling due to the reduced blood flow. This should once more relax your tension points and help keep your pain flare-ups under control.

Always make sure your lower back is well supported, either fully resting on the floor or using props.

3. Mountain Pose

Looking at this pose, it might look like you are simply standing – but there’s more to it. Here, the attention is given to grounding yourself into the earth as you are drawing your shoulders back and lengthening your spine. It’s supposed to relax you and improve your posture, therefore reducing your stress levels. Nonetheless, this can be very helpful in reducing your fibro flare-ups.

mountain pose
Imagine someone is pulling from an invisible string attached to the crown of your head to do this pose right.

4. The Corpse Pose

Savasana, or the corpse pose, is also extremely helpful in controlling your fibromyalgia. It may look too easy, but at the same time, it is effective. All you need to do is to lie down on your yoga mat and quiet your mind. For this pose to be effective, you need to ignore the outside stimulus and accept the moment that you are currently in. You should simply be in the moment, without thinking of the past or the future. The pose is meant to relax you, as it will return you to a detached and liberating state.

savasana corpse pose
Practice this pose at the end of a session to fully reboot your system.

5. Standing Forward Fold

This posture has great calming effects and it also opens up your back as you are performing it. This can relieve your muscle tension, therefore improving your condition and reducing your fibro pain. Plus, depending on your flexibility and how much you are hurting, you may modify this position. If the full movement feels too difficult for you, then you may put your hands on the wall and use it as support instead. Eventually, you will be able to also place your hands on your thighs. You’ll just need a little bit of practice.

standing forward fold pose
Go down slowly, and if you feel tension on your lower back, bend your knees slightly.

6. Cobra Pose

The cobra pose may help open up your chest, as well as stretch and strengthen your back. Both of these areas are highly sensitive if you are suffering from fibromyalgia. Start this pose by placing your palms on the floor, beneath your chest, breathing with your forehead on the yoga mat. From that point on, begin lifting your body in a way that works best for you. The more you do this pose, the more you will strengthen the muscles at the front and back – this way, you will be relieving your fibromyalgia.

cobra pose yoga
Get started with the baby version of this pose, and raise up further as you gain more flexibility on your back.

The Bottom Line

Fibromyalgia may be quite difficult to deal with, particularly when you do not know what exactly causes the problem. However, yoga for fibromyalgia may help you keep the symptoms under control and reduce the flare-ups. This way, you should be able to improve your quality of life and enjoy your days to the fullest.

Lourdes

Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and yogini. Trying to beat down stress and achieve peace of mind through the daily practice of Yoga. After a while in yoga, I embraced it wholy, and it changed my lifestyle upside down. Now I want to give back , helping others on their journey.