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 Health  Vol.9 No.3 , March 2017
Effectiveness of a 12-Week Program of Active and Passive Stretching in Improving Low Back and Neck Pain in Japanese Sedentary Men
Abstract: Purpose: Muscle stretching is frequently prescribed in physical therapy to manage lower back and neck pain. However, there is no clear evidence regarding the differences in effectiveness of active and passive stretching. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the relative effectiveness of a 12-week program of active and passive stretching on selected physical and mental stress variables of sedentary men with lower back and neck pain. Methods: A cohort of 28 sedentary men, 30 - 49 years old, were divided into two intervention groups: the passive stretching group (PSG, n = 15) and the active stretching group (ASG, n = 13). A trainer assisted with static passive stretching, while participants in the ASG were provided with an instructional video. The following outcomes were measured at the start and end of the first and twelfth week of the stretching program: physical measures (visual analogue scale score of lower back and neck pain; finger-to-floor distance, gravimetric assessment of pelvic tilt, muscle hardness of the biceps femoris, and straight-leg raising) and mental stress measures (α-amylase and cortisol levels in saliva samples). Results: Although both active and passive stretching produced acute changes in lower back and neck pain, only passive stretching yielded long-term improvement in pain, finger-to-floor distance, pelvic tilt, hardness of biceps femoris muscle and cortisol levels (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Passive stretching is superior to active stretching in reducing pain, increasing muscle extensibility and correcting posture among a group of sedentary men with lower back and neck pain.
Cite this paper: Naraoka, Y. , Katagiri, M. and Shirasawa, T. (2017) Effectiveness of a 12-Week Program of Active and Passive Stretching in Improving Low Back and Neck Pain in Japanese Sedentary Men. Health, 9, 493-505. doi: 10.4236/health.2017.93035.
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