A randomized controlled 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. A within-subject design was used, with one leg of each participant randomly allocated to an experimental (stretch) condition and the other leg randomly allocated to a control (no-stretch) condition. 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. The results showed that stretch did not increase muscle extensibility, but it did improve stretch tolerance.
Three weeks of stretch increases tolerance to the discomfort associated with stretch but does not change muscle extensibility in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Physical Therapy, 2009 Aug 20, online ahead of print