Stretching Exercises Can Help with CIDP

Stretching exercises can help reduce CIDP pain and possibly have regenerative effects. 

By Shiraz Abbas

Between 1.5 to 3.6 million people are affected by CIDP in America.

CIDP (Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy)  is a neurological condition that involves inflammation in the nerves. The inflammation slowly but progressively destroys the protective covering of the nerves which is known as the myelin sheath. Symptoms can include slow but progressive weakness, pain and an impaired sensory function in the arms and legs.

Some studies show that exercise like stretching may help nerve function and stimulate nerve regeneration. Furthermore, stretching may improve muscle strength and reduce pain associated with CIDP neuropathy.

cidp treatment

A 2017 study showed a notable decrease in acute inflammation when assessing the impacts of stretching:

stretching decreased acute inflammation (in vivo), reduced neutrophil migration (ex vivo), and increased connective tissue pro-resolving mediators (in vivo and ex vivo). These results reveal important new interactions between musculoskeletal and immune systems that could potentially be used therapeutically.

For people who suffer from neuropathy, Healthline recommends the following light exercises for patients:

Calf stretch

  1. Place one leg behind you with your toe pointing forward.
  2. Take a step forward with the opposite foot and slightly bend the knee.
  3. Lean forward with the front leg while keeping the heel on your back leg planted on the floor.
  4. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat three times per leg.

Seated hamstring stretch

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair.
  2. Extend one leg in front of you with your toe pointed upward.
  3. Bend the opposite knee with your foot flat on the floor.
  4. Position your chest over your straight leg, and straighten your back until you feel a muscle stretch.
  5. Hold this position for 15 – 20 seconds.
  6. Repeat three times per leg.

A common mistake people make is that they stretch or exercise haphazardly. It is important to remain consistent and practice stretching daily in order to see benefits. It is better to keep it easy and short but consistent than hard but every once in a while.

Before you embark on a stretching routine, please consult with your doctor first.

Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.

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