5 Physiotherapy workouts for scleroderma

Date: Thu 4th October 2018

Many people find physiotherapy incredibly useful in their fight against the symptoms of scleroderma. Below are some easy exercises for the areas of the body that many find the most beneficial to help manage pain and improve mobility.


1. Face:

Most people find these exercises easier to do when facing a mirror. You'll stretch more effectively if you perform these with the skin warmed up, for instance after a hot shower or bath. Or you could massage the face with a warm flannel prior to stretching. Stretches should be held for at least ten seconds and performed three times daily to show benefit. Many people find strengthening the facial muscles to be anti-ageing - so double win!

  • Lift the eyebrows and then lower them.
  • Squeeze your eyes closed tightly. Wink tightly with either eye.
  • Frown your forehead to wrinkle the bridge of your nose, raise your upper lip to increase the stretch.
  • Flare your nostrils. Close your lips hard.
  • Cover your teeth with your lips, and then open your mouth as wide as you can.
  • Bare your teeth and open the mouth as far as you can. Push the jaw forward to produce an under-bite.
  • Grin as widely as you can, without showing the teeth.

2. Back:

  • Mid back twists - Whilst sitting on a chair, twist to one side to feel a stretch in the mid-back.
  • Low back rolling - Whilst lying on your back on the bed with your knees bent up and together, gently roll your knees from side to side.
  • Hand behind back stretch - Place your hands behind you, holding onto a stick, pull the stick up with the upper hand to bring the lower arm up into its stretch. Your palm should be facing outwards. Repeat for the other side. If it is easier, this stretch can be performed whilst sitting and a towel could be used instead of the stick.

3. Neck:

  • Neck side flexions - Tilt the head so that the ear gets nearer to shoulder, and be sure not to be looking backwards for this stretch. You should feel a firm but comfortable stretch at the opposite side of the neck, running down towards the shoulder.
  • Neck rotation - Whilst sitting, look over the shoulder, turning the head to the side without looking up or down. You should feel a firm but comfortable stretch on the opposite side of the neck to which you are looking.

4. Wrists:

  • Wrist extension stretch - Place palms together and then lower them down the chest, keeping the base of the palms as close together as possible until you feel a firm but comfortable stretch at the inside of the wrists.
  • Wrist flexion stretch - Place backs of hands together and then lower them down the chest, keeping the base of the backs of the hands as close together as possible until you feel a firm but comfortable stretch at the outside of the wrists.

5. Shoulders:

  • Shoulder abduction stretch - Standing up, hold a stick (e.g. rolling pin, walking stick, golf club, umbrella) in both hands with the palms facing upwards. Push one arm up to your side until you feel the stretch. Repeat for the other side. If it's easier, this stretch can be performed while sitting.

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