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The importance of stretch and contractile activity in the prevention of connective tissue accumulation in muscle

PainSci » bibliography » Williams et al 1988
updated
Tags: stretch, sedentariness, etiology, biology, biomechanics, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle, pro

One article on PainSci cites Williams 1988: The Trouble with Chairs

PainSci notes on Williams 1988:

“It was found that the connective tissue accumulation that occurs in inactive muscles can be prevented either by passive stretch or by active stimulation.” An important point here is that stretch isn’t doing anything that muscle contraction isn’t, so the evidence does not particularly support a stretching habit.

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 loss of serial sarcomeres which results when muscles are immobilised in a shortened position is accompanied by an increase in the proportion of collagen and an increased muscle stiffness. In order to determine whether it is lack of stretch or lack of contractile activity which is the main factor involved in these changes experiments were carried out using different combinations of immobilisation and electrical stimulation. It was found that the connective tissue accumulation that occurs in inactive muscles can be prevented either by passive stretch or by active stimulation. It was also shown that in muscle that is working over a reduced range there is, as in muscle immobilised in the shortened position, a reduction in serial sarcomeres. In this case, however, there is no concomitant increase in connective tissue, again indicating that contractile activity is important for the maintenance of normal muscle compliance.

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Specifically regarding Williams 1988:

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