Is remote stretching based on myofascial chains as effective as local exercise? A randomised-controlled trial, 2016

Topics: Myofascial chains; force transmission; fascia; meridians; MiSpEx

Authors: J. Wilke, L. Vogt, D. Niederer and W. Banzer


Lower limb stretching based on myofascial chains has been demonstrated to increase cervical range of motion (ROM) in the sagittal plane. It is, however, unknown whether such remote exercise is as effective as local stretching. To resolve this research deficit, 63 healthy participants (36 ± 13 years, ♂32) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: remote stretching of the lower limb (LLS), local stretching of the cervical spine (CSS) or inactive control (CON). Prior (M1), immediately post (M2) and 5 min following intervention (M3), maximal cervical ROM was assessed. Non-parametric data analysis (Kruskal-Wallis tests and adjusted post hoc Dunn tests) revealed significant differences between the disposed conditions. With one exception (cervical spine rotation after CSS at M2, P > .05), both LLS and CSS increased cervical ROM compared to the control group in all movement planes and at all measurements (P < .05). Between LLS and CSS, no statistical differences were found (P > .05). Lower limb stretching based on myofascial chains induces similar acute improvements in cervical ROM as local exercise. Therapists might consequently consider its use in programme design. However, as the attained effects do not seem to be direction-specific, further research is warranted in order to provide evidence-based recommendations.

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