Stretch Intensity vs. Inflammation: A Dose-dependent Association?

Nikos Apostolopoulos BPHE, George S. Metsios, Alan Nevill, Yiannis Koutedakis, Matthew Wyon


The intensity of stretching is rarely reported in scientific literature. In this study, we examined the effects of stretching intensities at 30%, 60%, and 90% of maximum range of movement (mROM) on the inflammatory response of the right hamstring muscle. Methods: A randomised within-subject trial was conducted with 11 healthy recreationally active males over a three week period. Participants were strapped into an isokinetic dynamometer in the supine position, with the right knee fastened in a knee immobilizer. After randomising the ROM percentages, the hamstring muscle was moved to one of the three chosen ROM percentages for that week and held there for 5 x 60 seconds followed by a 10 second rest between repetitions. A 5ml blood sample was collected pre-, immediately post, and at 24 hours post intervention for high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) assessments. Results: Significant increases in hsCRP levels were observed between 30% mROM and 90% mROM (p=0.004) and 60% mROM and 90% mROM (p=0.034), but not between 30% and 60% (p>0.05). Conclusions: Muscle stretching at submaximal levels does not elicit a significant systemic inflammatory responses.

Keywords: Stretch intensity, inflammation, hsCRP

Full Text:



Baliki, M. N., Geha, P. Y., & Apkarian, A. V. (2009). Parsing pain perception between nociceptive representation and magnitude estimation. J Neurophysiol, 101, 875-887.

Gabay, C. (2006). Interleukin-6 and chronic inflammation. Arthritis Res & Ther, 8((Suppl 2)), S3.

Gresnigt, M. S., Joosten, L. A. B., Verschueren, I., van der Meer, J. W. M., Netea, M. G., Dinarello, C. A., et al. (2012). Neutrophil-Mediated Inhibition of Proinflammatory Cytokine Responses. . J Immunol, 189, 4806-4815.

Jacobs, C. A., & Sciascia, A. D. (2011). Factors that influence the efficacy of stretching programs for patients with hypomobility. Sports Health, 3(6), 520-523.

Kilicarslan, A., Uysal, A., & Roach, E. C. (2013). Acute phase reactants. Acta Medica, 2, 2-7.

Kushner, I., & Rzewnicki, D. L. (1994). The acute phase response: General aspects. Bailliere's Clinical Rheumatology, 8(3), 513-530.

Marino, A., & Giotta, N. (2008). Cinacalcet, fetuin-A and interleukin-6. Nephrol Dial Transplant, 23, 1461.

Marschall, F. (1999). Wie beinflussen unterschiedliche Dehnintensitaten kurzfristig die Veranderung der Bewegungsreichweite?(Effects of different stretch-intensity on the acute change of range of motion). Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin, 50, 5-9.

McKay, D. M. (1963). Psychophysics of perceived intensity: A theoretical basis for Fechner's and Stevens' laws. Science, 139(3560), 1213-1216.

Melzack, R., & Katz, J. (Eds.). (1999). Pain measurements in persons with pain. London: Churchill Livingstone.

Mueller, M. J., & Maluf, K. S. (2002). Tissue adaptation to physical stress: a proposed "physical stress theory" to guide physical therapist practice, education, and research. Phys Ther, 82, 383-403.

Mujika, I., Chatard, J.-C., Busso, T., Geyssant, A., Barale, F., & Lacoste, L. (1995). The effects of training on performance in competitive swimming. Can J Appl Physiol, 20, 395-406.

Pearle, A. D., Scanzello, C. R., George, S., Mandl, L. A., DiCarlo, E., Peterson, M., et al. (2007). Elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels are associated with local inflammatory findings in patients with osteoarthritis. OsteoArthritis and Cartilage, 15, 516-523.

Pizza, F. X., Koh, T. J., McGregor, S. J., & Brooks, S. V. (2002). Muscle inflammatory cells after passive stretches, isometric contractions, and lengthening contractions. J Appl Physiol, 92(5), 1873-1878.

Pradhan, A. D., Manson, J. E., Rifai, N., Buring, J. E., & Ridker, P. M. (2001). C-Reactive Protein, Interleukin 6, and Risk of Developin Type 2 Diabetus Mellitus. JAMA, 286, 327-334.

Roberts, W. L., Moulton, L., Law, T. C., Farrow, G., Cooper-Anderson, M., Savory, J., et al. (2001). Evaluation of nine automated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein methods: implications for clincial and epidemiological applications. Part 2. Clin Chem, 47(3), 418-425.

Tidball, J. G. (1995). Inflammatory cell response to acute muscle injury. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 27, 1022-1032.

Tiidus, P. M., & Ianuzzo, C. D. (1983). Effects of intensity and duration of muscular exercise on delayed soreness and serum enzyme activities. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 15(6), 461-465.

Toumi, H., F'guyer, S., & Best, T. M. (2006). The role of neutrophils in injury and repair following muscle stretch. J Anat, 208, 459-470.

Vigushin, D. M., Pepys, M. B., & Hawkins, P. N. (1993). Metabolic and scintigraphic studies of radioiodinated human C-reactive protein in health and disease. J Clin Invest, 91, 1351-1357.

Weerapong, P., Hume, P. A., & Kolt, G. S. (2004). Stretching: mechanisms and benefits for sport performance and injury prevention. Phys Ther Rev, 9, 189-206.

Wyon, M., Felton, L., & Galloway, S. (2009). A Comparison of 2 Stretching Modalities on Lower-Limb Range of Motion Measurements in Recreational Dancers. J Strengh Cond Res, 23(7), 2144-2148.

Wyon, M., Smith, A., & Koutedakis, Y. (2013). A comparison of strength and stretch interventions on active and passive ranges of movement in dancers: a randomized controlled trial. J Strengh Cond Res, 27(11), 3053-3059.

Zwislocki, J. J. (2009). Sensory Neuroscience: Four Laws of Psyhcophysics.: Springer, US.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.