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Peripheral nerve responses to muscle stretching: A systematic review

  • Autori: Thomas E.; Bellafiore M.; Petrigna L.; Paoli A.; Palma A.; Bianco A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Stretching is commonly used to increase range of motion and flexibility. Therefore, investigations are usually oriented towards the muscle-tendon unit. Limited evidence exists regarding potential effects of stretching on peripheral nerves which lie within muscles. The objective of this investigation will be to elucidate the responses of peripheral nerves to stretching. A literature search was performed using the following databases: Scopus, NLM Pubmed and ScienceDirect. Studies regarding the effects of stretching protocols on responses of peripheral nerves were retrieved for investigation. The NHLBI tool was used for quality assessment. Outcomes included nerve stiffness, nerve displace-ment, pain pressure thresholds and resistive torque. A total of 10 studies were considered eligible and were included in this inves-tigation. The quality assessment of the studies revealed an overall “fair to good” methodological quality across the included studies. All studies except for one involved healthy participants. High het-erogeneity of stretching protocols was retrieved. As a conse-quence of stretching, nerve stiffness (-15.6%) and pain pressure thresholds (1.9kg) increased. Nerve displacements on each movement plane for all the considered nerves and nerve deformation were also frequently observed. Peripheral nerve responses to muscle stretching include decreased nerve stiffness and increased pain pressure thresholds. Nerve displacement also frequently occurs. It is still unclear if reduced nerve displacement may lead to clinical outcomes. There is a lack of longitudinal studies regarding peripheral nerve adaptations to stretching.