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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 89 (6), 1103-7

Muscle Stretching Technique Increases Vital Capacity and Range of Motion in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Muscle Stretching Technique Increases Vital Capacity and Range of Motion in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Michael T Putt et al. Arch Phys Med Rehabil.

Abstract

Objectives: To determine if a specific hold and relax stretching technique was capable of (1) reversing the effect of tight chest wall muscles by increasing chest expansion, vital capacity, and shoulder range of motion and (2) decreasing perceived dyspnea and respiratory rate in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Design: Double-blind crossover trial.

Setting: A physiotherapy department at a major metropolitan hospital.

Participants: Fourteen stable patients with COPD who had recently completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program were enrolled, with 10 patients completing the study.

Intervention: A hold and relax stretching technique of the pectoralis major and a sham technique each for 2 days.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was vital capacity (VC), with secondary outcome measures being perceived dyspnea, axillary (ACE) and xiphisternal chest expansion (XCE), right and left shoulder horizontal extension, and respiratory rate.

Results: The hold and relax technique to the pectoralis major compared with the sham technique produced significant effects on VC (P<.01), and right (P<.01) and left (P<.05) upper-limb range of motion. There was no significant effect on ACE, XCE, perceived dyspnea, or respiratory rate. There was no order effect for either technique.

Conclusions: The hold and relax technique produces short-term benefits in patients with COPD and should be investigated further.

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