MIDDLE AND LOW BACK
-This is sometimes called the ‘cat stretch’. Start on the floor on hands and
knees. Imagine the mid-back being gradually lifted up toward the ceiling.
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit a little bit away from the chair back, put hands on
thighs or otherwise extended out front, lean gently forward, and gradually
move the mid-back toward the back of the chair.
-Start face up, on the floor. Bring the thighs toward the chest. This will
automatically press the low back into the floor and lengthen the low back
OK to let the tailbone lift up off the floor.
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit all the way back in the chair seat, then gradually lean
forward, walking hands down past the knees, and feeling the stretch move
toward the low back the more you lean forward.
OK to lift just one leg at a time if hugging both knees to the chest is too
hard at first.
-CHAIR VERSION: The same as above but modify by not leaning as far forward.
MODIFIED LOW BACK and HIP ROTATORS
-Start on the floor, face up, arms extended out to each side. Gradually move
both knees to one side. Modify by bringing one arm back in toward the torso,
then slightly turning the torso the same direction as the legs, letting the
shoulder blade come off the floor.
-CHAIR VERSION: Place both hands on the outside of one thigh and turn the
torso to that side.
BACK OF LOWER LEG
BACKSIDE /OUTER THIGH
This image shows a very flexible person! Start on the floor, face up, legs
extended. Lift one leg, bend at the knee, and gradually bring that leg
across the torso. Just crossing slightly over the torso is fine to start.
-CHAIR VERSION: Either lift one leg, bend the knee, and place that ankle
on top of the
other leg’s thigh,
(pretty flexible!) or lift one
thigh off the chair seat and move it toward the center and over the other
thigh. Leaning forward and sideways, away from the bent leg, will deepen
OUTER HIP /SIDE OF TORSO
-My classes tell me this stretch eases tender point pain in the high hip
area. From a standing position, cross one leg over the other. Lean to one
side, moving the hips toward the other side. Keep the back leg straight.
Lean gradually and gently (the picture shows a very deep stretch).
-CHAIR VERSION: It can be tough to stretch the high hip
seated, but leaning to one side will provide a stretch for the side of the
BACK OF THIGH
-Many people have tight ‘hamstrings’, with fibromyalgia or not. Start on
the floor, face up. It’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s important to
keep the shoulder blades on the floor, and there’s no need to lift the
head up, either. If there’s a problem with reaching the leg, a long towel,
belt, or theraband can be wrapped under the ball of the foot to “extend’
the arms. If the toes are pointed straight to
the ceiling, that’s considered good flexibility.
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit away from the chair back and extend one leg straight
out, with the heel touching the floor. Lean forward from the hips, keeping
the back very flat, “like a table top”.
THIGH/ OUTER THIGH
- Begin seated on the floor. Extend one leg to the side. Keep the other
leg bent. Lean forward. The extended leg stretches the inner thigh; bent
leg stretches outer thigh.
-CHAIR VERSION: Fair warning to women;
this is not
particularly ladylike. Scoot back in
chair. Move knees wide apart. Hold onto the seat front. Lean forward with
FRONT OF THIGH
-If you sit a lot, this stretch is really important. If there’s any knee
discomfort in this position,
the chair version instead. Begin on the floor, on knees. Place one foot
out to the front, far away, at a greater than 90 degree angle. Gradually
lean forward until a gentle stretch is felt at the area between the torso
and the top of the leg.
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit sideways in a chair, near the front of the seat. (One
‘bun’ will be almost off the seat, so use a non-tip, sturdy chair!)
Gradually begin moving the foot backward, behind the body. Go slowly, and
stop when a gentle stretch is felt.
-To begin, face a wall, place the hands on the wall, and then step one leg
backward. In this classic calf stretch, the back heel needs to be pressed
down and touching the floor.
The right position
is a ‘full body’ lean, without
letting the backside pop up, so tuck the tailbone under and toward the wall,
also moving the hips toward the wall.
-CHAIR VERSION: Extend one leg straight
out front, with the
heel touching the floor. Lift
toes upward, as if trying to touch them to the shin bone. Using an “arm
extender” like a long towel, belt or theraband helps provide a deeper
FRONT OF TORSO and ABDOMINAL WALL
-Begin on the floor, face down, hands by the shoulders. Press the palms down
and bring the shoulders off the ground, resting on elbows to start. Lifting
off the elbows, upward onto the hands, is a more advanced stretch. NOTE:
It’s very important not to throw the head back or look up; just look
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit well back in the chair, and gently arch backward,
lifting the chest
toward the ceiling.
Again, it’s important not to
up at the ceiling. This stretch is about creating a curve in the mid-to-low
back area; please avoid arching backward at the neck.
UPPER TORSO / CHEST
-Tender point pain across the upper body can lead to shoulders protectively
rolled in, creating tight chest muscles. This stretch is very helpful when
done consistently, allowing the shoulders, over time, to move backward into
good alignment. Facing a corner, brace the arms, with hands no higher than
shoulder height, on each wall. Lean forward. This can also be done in a
narrow doorway, but please keep the hands at shoulder height or below.
-CHAIR VERSION: Position the arms just as shown in the
picture, keeping the elbows low. Gradually move the hands and elbows
backward, while leaning the torso forward. The back stays flat
FRONT OF SHOULDERS
-Upper body pain can also cause us to hold the shoulders in a protective
pose; tense and lifted up. To begin, either touch the tops of the hands to
the small of the back, or (if you’re very flexible) clasp hands behind the
back. Take a nice deep breath in and, while exhaling, gently press the
shoulders backward and down.
-CHAIR VERSION: Sit forward a bit in the chair and put the fists on the
chair seat on each side of the body. Slowly walk the fists backward, then
gently pull the shoulders backward and down.
-Chin to chest, easy as pie. Begin by taking a nice breath in, then tuck the
chin in and exhale while moving the head forward and down.
don’t press down hard into this- let gravity gradually pull the head
downward. Relax the shoulders down and forward to let the upper back move
into the stretch too.
SIDE OF N ECK
-Turn the head to face one corner and then tuck the chin in and down, toward
the collarbone. There’s no need to use the fingertips, as shown, to bring
the head down unless it feels perfectly OK to you.
Again, don’t press hard (or at all, if it’s uncomfortable) and let gravity
provide a gradual pull.