This trial was conducted to investigate the effects of a 3-week stretch program on muscle extensibility and stretch tolerance in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.Â Thirty adults with pain of musculoskeletal origin persisting for at least 3 months were recruited and one leg of each participant was randomly allocated to an experimental (stretch) condition and the other leg randomly allocated to a control (no-stretch) condition.Â Â The hamstring muscles of the experimental leg were stretched daily for 1 minute over 3 weeks; the control leg was not stretched. This intervention was embedded within a pain management program and supervised by physical therapists.Â Stretch did not increase muscle extensibility but it did improve stretch tolerance.
The authors conclude that three weeks of stretch increases tolerance to the discomfort associated with stretch but does not change muscle extensibility in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Law, R. Y.W., Harvey, L. A., Nicholas, M. K., Tonkin, L., De Sousa, M., Finniss, D. G. Stretch Exercises Increase Tolerance to Stretch in Patients With Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Physical Therapy. 2009, 89:10, 1016-1026