Presentation Title

Comparing the Acute Effects of Cryostretching to Traditional Hold-Relax PNF Stretching on Hamstring Flexibility: A pilot project

Authors' Names

Mckayla McNamara

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Introduction: Musculotendinous injuries often occur in sporting populations, especially that of hamstring injuries. Additionally, some might say that these injuries are due to lack of hamstring flexibility. Hamstring injuries have been addressed by various forms of preventative stretching such as static, dynamic, ballistic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Cryostretching has also been used to treat acute muscle strains, increase muscle flexibility, calm muscle spasticity, and treat other non-specific muscle injuries. Although many studies indicate no added benefit of cryostretching on hamstring flexibility, these studies have typically measured distal hamstring extensibility. To our knowledge, the effects of cryostretching have not been assessed focusing on proximal hamstring flexibility. Purpose: Therefore, the purpose of this project was to examine the acute effects of cryostretching on hamstring flexibility using the passive SLR. Hypothesis: We hypothesized that a cryostretching treatment would result in an acute increase in hamstring extensibility more so than traditional PNF Hold-Relax stretching. Participants: A non-random sample of eight graduate students from a therapeutic modalities class (4 females and 4 males), participated in this pilot project. Methods: Two trials were conducted for this project: a cryostretching trial and a PNF Hold-Relax trial. Participants’ hamstring flexibility was assessed by performing a single leg raise (SLR) using a standard 12 inch goniometer. Measurements were obtained before and after each trial. For the cryostretching trial, subjects were asked to lie prone on the table while two ice packs were applied to the right hamstring for 15 minutes and secured with flexi-wrap. Immediately following the cryotherapy treatment, a hold-relax PNF technique was used to stretch the hamstring. For the traditional PNF hold-relax stretching trial, subjects were asked to lie supine on the table for 15 minutes. Immediately following, a hold-relax PNF technique was used to stretch the hamstring. At least 5 days passed before participants returned to complete the other trial. Data was analyzed by using SPSS software to run a 2x2 repeated measures ANOVA. Dependent Variables: SLR was the dependent variable in this project. Results: Data analysis revealed no statistical significance (p=0.493) between the cryostretching and hold-relax PNF trials. Hamstring flexibility slightly increased when using the cryostretching technique, whereas, hamstring flexibility with the hold-relax PNF technique diminished. Conclusion: While the findings of this study are not generalizable, the results align with existing research. The large number of resources reporting on cryostretching report minimal impact on muscle extensibility. Cryostretching may be minimally useful for increasing short-term flexibility, but rather may be more useful as a therapeutic intervention in conjunction with rehabilitation and pain management.

Mentor Name

Valerie Moody

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Feb 22nd, 5:00 PM Feb 22nd, 6:00 PM

Comparing the Acute Effects of Cryostretching to Traditional Hold-Relax PNF Stretching on Hamstring Flexibility: A pilot project

UC North Ballroom

Introduction: Musculotendinous injuries often occur in sporting populations, especially that of hamstring injuries. Additionally, some might say that these injuries are due to lack of hamstring flexibility. Hamstring injuries have been addressed by various forms of preventative stretching such as static, dynamic, ballistic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Cryostretching has also been used to treat acute muscle strains, increase muscle flexibility, calm muscle spasticity, and treat other non-specific muscle injuries. Although many studies indicate no added benefit of cryostretching on hamstring flexibility, these studies have typically measured distal hamstring extensibility. To our knowledge, the effects of cryostretching have not been assessed focusing on proximal hamstring flexibility. Purpose: Therefore, the purpose of this project was to examine the acute effects of cryostretching on hamstring flexibility using the passive SLR. Hypothesis: We hypothesized that a cryostretching treatment would result in an acute increase in hamstring extensibility more so than traditional PNF Hold-Relax stretching. Participants: A non-random sample of eight graduate students from a therapeutic modalities class (4 females and 4 males), participated in this pilot project. Methods: Two trials were conducted for this project: a cryostretching trial and a PNF Hold-Relax trial. Participants’ hamstring flexibility was assessed by performing a single leg raise (SLR) using a standard 12 inch goniometer. Measurements were obtained before and after each trial. For the cryostretching trial, subjects were asked to lie prone on the table while two ice packs were applied to the right hamstring for 15 minutes and secured with flexi-wrap. Immediately following the cryotherapy treatment, a hold-relax PNF technique was used to stretch the hamstring. For the traditional PNF hold-relax stretching trial, subjects were asked to lie supine on the table for 15 minutes. Immediately following, a hold-relax PNF technique was used to stretch the hamstring. At least 5 days passed before participants returned to complete the other trial. Data was analyzed by using SPSS software to run a 2x2 repeated measures ANOVA. Dependent Variables: SLR was the dependent variable in this project. Results: Data analysis revealed no statistical significance (p=0.493) between the cryostretching and hold-relax PNF trials. Hamstring flexibility slightly increased when using the cryostretching technique, whereas, hamstring flexibility with the hold-relax PNF technique diminished. Conclusion: While the findings of this study are not generalizable, the results align with existing research. The large number of resources reporting on cryostretching report minimal impact on muscle extensibility. Cryostretching may be minimally useful for increasing short-term flexibility, but rather may be more useful as a therapeutic intervention in conjunction with rehabilitation and pain management.