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Does a 'tight' hamstring predict low back pain reporting during prolonged standing?

PainSci » bibliography » Raftry et al 2012
Tags: treatment, stretch, self-treatment, biomechanics, etiology, back pain, exercise, muscle, pro, pain problems, spine

Two articles on PainSci cite Raftry 2012: 1. Quite a Stretch2. Complete Guide to Low Back Pain

PainSci summary of Raftry 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

In this simple torture test, 20 brave volunteers without back pain stood for two hours. Half of them developed significant back pain during that period. Those people did not have tighter hamstrings either before or after. There was no correlation between hamstring extensibility and whether healthy people developed pain after two hours of standing.

~ Paul Ingraham

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.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between hamstring passive stiffness and extensibility in asymptomatic individuals with the reporting of low back pain during 2-h prolonged standing. Twenty healthy participants with no history of low back pain (mean±SD, age 22.6±2.7 years, height 1.74±0.09 m, weight 76.2±14.8 kg). Low back pain (VAS score; mm) was continuously monitored during 2-h prolonged standing. Hamstring extensibility, passive stiffness, and stretch tolerance were measured before and after prolonged standing using an instrumented straight leg raise (iSLR). Ten participants reported a clinically relevant increase (Δ VAS>10mm) in low back pain during prolonged standing. Hamstring extensiblity (leg°(max)), passive stiffness (Nm.°(-1)), and stretch tolerance (VAS; mm) were no different between pain developers and non-pain developers. No changes in hamstring measures were observed following 2-h prolonged standing. No relationship was observed in this study between measures of hamstring extensibility and the reporting of low back pain during prolonged standing. There is no evidence to recommend hamstring extensibility interventions (i.e. passive stretching) as a means of reducing pain reporting in occupations requiring prolonged standing.

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