original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Stretching (that is, interventions that apply tension to soft tissues) induces increases in the extensibility of soft tissues, and is therefore widely administered to increase joint mobility and reverse contractures. However, it is not clear whether the effects of stretching are lasting. A systematic review was conducted to determine if stretching (either self-administered, administered manually by therapists or by some external device such as a splint) produces lasting increases in the mobility of joints not directly affected by surgery, trauma or disease processes.
METHOD: In order to determine the lasting effects of stretching, only studies that measured joint range of motion (ROM) at least one day after the cessation of stretching were included. MEDLINE (from 1966 to June 2000), EMBASE (from 1988 to June 2000), the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register and PEDro databases were searched, and citation tracking was used to identify randomized studies that met the inclusion criteria. Each study was rated by two independent assessors on the PEDro scale, which rated trials according to criteria such as concealed allocation, blinding and intention-to-treat analysis.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies satisfied the inclusion criteria. All examined the effect of stretching (median number of stretch sessions = eight) on joint ROM in healthy subjects without functionally significant contractures. Four studies were of 'moderate' quality and the remaining nine were of 'poor' quality. The 'moderate' quality studies suggest that regular stretching increases joint ROM (mean increase in ROM = 8 degrees; 95% CI 6 degrees to 9 degrees) for more than one day after cessation of stretching and possibly that the effects of stretching are greater in muscle groups with limited extensibility.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of four 'moderate' quality studies show a convincing effect of stretching in people without functionally significant contracture. These findings require verification with high-quality studies. Lasting effects of intensive stretching programmes (for example, stretching applied for more than six weeks or for more than 20 minutes a day) or of stretching on people with functionally significant contracture have not yet been investigated with randomized studies.
One article on PainScience.com cites Harvey 2002 as a source:
- Quite a Stretch — Stretching science has shown that this extremely popular form of exercise has almost no measurable benefits
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.