One article on PainSci cites Azevedo 2011: Quite a Stretch
PainSci notes on Azevedo 2011:
This well-planned experiment tested whether or not the contraction component of a contract-relax stretch actually makes a difference, and clearly found that it does not. The researchers compared a normal CR stretch of the hamstring to a modified one without any hamstring contraction (instead, some other “uninvolved, distant” muscle was contracted). The effect of both stretches was the same — “a significant moderate increase in range of motion.” In other words, it didn’t matter if the hamstring was contracted or not — with or without a contraction, the result was the same. This strongly undermines the central claim of CR-PNF stretching.
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.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effect of the contract-relax (CR) stretching technique on knee active range of motion (ROM) using target muscle contraction or an uninvolved muscle contraction.
DESIGN: pre-test post-test control experimental design.
SETTING: Clinical research laboratory.
PARTICIPANTS: Sixty healthy men were randomly assigned to one of three groups.
INTERVENTIONS: The Contract-Relax group (CR) performed a traditional hamstring CR stretch, the Modified Contract-Relax group (MCR) performed hamstring CR stretching using contraction of an uninvolved muscle distant from the target muscle, and the Control group (CG) did not stretch.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Active knee extension test was performed before and after the stretching procedure.
RESULTS: Two-way between-within analysis of variance (ANOVA) results showed a significant interaction between group and pre-test to post-test (p < 0.001). Post-hoc examination of individual groups showed no significant change in ROM for the CG (0.8°, p = 0.084), and a significant moderate increase in ROM for both the CR (7.0°, p < 0.001) and MCR (7.0°, p < 0.001) groups.
CONCLUSIONS: ROM gain following a CR PNF procedure is the same whether the target stretching muscle is contracted, or an uninvolved muscle is contracted.
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:
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.
- Association Between Plantar Fasciitis and Isolated Gastrocnemius Tightness. Nakale 2018 Foot Ankle Int.
- No Added Benefit of Combining Dry Needling With Guideline-Based Physical Therapy When Managing Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Stieven 2020 J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.