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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 3, 2020

Stretch-induced hypoalgesia: a pilot study

  • Marie-Claude Larouche , Samuel Camiré Bernier , Rosalie Racine , Olivier Collin , Mikaël Desmons , Catherine Mailloux and Hugo Massé-Alarie EMAIL logo



Stretching is an intervention often used in various kinds of rehabilitation protocols and the effects on pain sensitivity has sparsely been investigated, especially when addressing potential effects on pain. The objective is to investigate the immediate effects of an axial and peripheral prolonged stretch on pressure pain sensitivity (PPT) and temporal summation (TS) on local and distal sites in healthy subjects.


Twenty-two healthy volunteers were recruited to participate in this pilot study. Two prolonged stretching protocols were performed: low back and wrist extensors stretches. PPT and pinprick TS were measured pre- and post-intervention at local and remote sites. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine the effects and significance of the interventions.


The low back stretch induced an increase in PPT for both local and remote sites, and the wrist stretch produced a PPT increase only at the local site. TS did not change.


Low back stretching induced an increase in PPT at both local and remote sites whereas the wrist stretch only increased PPT locally, suggesting hypoalgesia at these sites. Further studies are needed to confirm the effect and mechanisms using randomised, controlled and parallel study design. Considering that pain sensitivity is different than clinical pain, results are difficult to extrapolate to clinical practice. Future studies testing clinical pain are needed to better understand the clinical implication of these results.

Corresponding author: Assistant Prof. Hugo Massé-Alarie, Cirris research centre, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada; and Rehabilitation Unit, Université Laval, Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et integration sociale (CIRRIS), Quebec City, Qc, Canada, E-mail:

Funding source: Quebec Pain Research Network

Funding source: Canadian Musculoskeletal Research Network

Funding source: Quebec Rehabilitation Network (REPAR)

Award Identifier / Grant number: 281961


We acknowledge the help of Jean Tittley for data collection and Richard Preuss for commenting the first version of the article.

  1. Research funding: This study was funded by a collaborative grant from the Quebec Pain Research Network, Canadian Musculoskeletal Research Network and the Quebec Rehabilitation Network (REPAR). HMA is supported by a research scholar from Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (281961). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent has been obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The local ethics committee (CER CIUSSS Capitale Nationale 2019-1547) provides a written ethical consent to undertake the study and the study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Received: 2020-01-23
Accepted: 2020-07-10
Published Online: 2020-09-03
Published in Print: 2020-10-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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