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Study One: Acute Inflammatory Response to Stretching

  • Nikos C. Apostolopoulos
Chapter

Abstract

Stretching, defined as an external/internal force, is responsible for determining the range of motion (ROM) of the connective tissue [muscles, tendons, and the myotendon unit (MTU)]. The magnitude and rate of stretching may be responsible for inducing a mechanical response of the musculoskeletal system, such as trauma, or increases in ROM. Since mechanical forces provide fundamental physiological stimulus in living organisms, the degree of stretching intensity, such as low-intensity versus high-intensity stretching, may either optimise recovery from muscle damage by ameliorating inflammation or cause damage to tissue. This damage, in response to the stress placed on the tissue by stretching, may induce an inflammatory response. In this randomised crossover trial, 12 participants were exposed to both a high-intensity passive static stretch (discomfort with slight pain) and no stretch. In order to investigate whether high-intensity passive static stretching causes an inflammatory response, inflammatory blood biomarkers were measured [pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) and hsCRP]. The right and left hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps were passively stretched by a trained therapist. Each muscle group was stretched for three sets, held at 60 s each, at an intensity level of 8 out of 10, as measured by a numerical rating scale. The total time was 18 min. The study observed that an inflammatory response was associated with high-intensity passive static stretching when compared to no stretch.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikos C. Apostolopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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