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Open Access Stretching to Reduce Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review

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Objective: This article reviewed the literature to clarify the physiological effects and benefits of, and misconceptions about, stretches used to reduce musculoskeletal disorders.

Methods: Nine databases were reviewed to identify studies exploring the effectiveness of stretching to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Included studies were reviewed and their methodological quality was assessed using the PEDro scale.

Results: The physiological effects of stretches may contribute to reducing discomfort and pain. However, if other measures are not in place to remediate their causes, stretches may suppress awareness of risks, resulting in more debilitating injuries. If inadequately performed, stretches may also cause or aggravate injuries. Careful analysis and stretching program design are required before implementing stretches. Seven studies evaluating the effectiveness of stretching to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in different occupations were identified and reviewed.

Conclusion: The studies provided mixed findings, but demonstrated some beneficial effect of stretching in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. However, due to the relatively low methodological quality of the studies available in the literature, future studies are necessary for a definite response. Future studies should minimize threats to internal and external validity, have control groups, use appropriate follow-up periods, and present a more detailed description of the interventions and worker population.

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Keywords: INJURY; PREVENTION; STRETCHING; WORK

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.


    Since the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is an Open Access journal, the contents will no longer be provided via Ingenta Connect after December 31, 2020. To continue accessing the journal free of charge please go to https://www.medicaljournals.se/jrm.
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