The Effect of Stretching Hamstring, Gastrocnemius, Iliopsoas and Back Muscles on Pain and Functional Activities in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial


A back pain lasting more than 12 weeks has been defined as a chronic low back pain (LBP) [1]. More than half of people suffer from LBP [1]. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of gastrocnemius muscle stretching in the treatment of chronic low back pain. Methods: Forty patients with chronic low back pain, ages ranging from 25 to 40 years, were recruited and divided randomly into two groups. The control group followed a physical therapy program that included stretching exercises for back, hamstring and iliopsoas muscles. Strengthening exercises for abdominal muscle and postural instructions for activities of daily living were also performed. The experimental group followed the same control-group exercises with the addition of stretching exercises for gastrocnemius muscles. The interventions for both groups consisted of three sessions per week for six weeks, each session lasting for an hour. The outcome measures were visual analog scale (VAS) for pain severity, modified fingertip to floor (FTF) for range of motion (ROM) of trunk flexion, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and loading X-ray to detect lumbosacral angle. Results: There was no significant difference between groups at baseline characteristics. At final follow up, the two groups were significantly different in all outcome measures in terms of pain (p < 0.01), modified FTF (p < 0.01), disability questionnaire (p < 0.01), and lumbosacral angle (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Gastrocnemius manual stretching exercise is more beneficial in reducing pain and improving functions for patients with chronic low back pain when adding to stretching exercises for hamstring, iliopsoas, and back muscles, and strengthening exercise for abdominal muscles.

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Seif, H. , Alenazi, A. , Hassan, S. , Kachanathu, S. and Hafez, A. (2015) The Effect of Stretching Hamstring, Gastrocnemius, Iliopsoas and Back Muscles on Pain and Functional Activities in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 3, 139-145. doi: 10.4236/ojtr.2015.34019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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