The skeletal muscles and the fibrous connective tissue form an extensive, body-wide network of myofascial chains. As fascia can modify its stiffness, strain transmission along these meridians is supposable. The goal of this trial therefore was to collect pilot data for potential remote effects of lower limb stretching on cervical range of motion (ROM). Twenty-six healthy participants (30 ± 6 years) were included in the matched-pairs intervention study. One group (n = 13) performed three 30 s bouts of static stretching for the gastrocnemius and the hamstrings, respectively. An age- and sex-matched control group (CG; n = 13) remained inactive. Pre- and post-intervention, maximal cervical ROM in flexion/extension was assessed. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed systematic differences between groups (P < .05). ROM increased following stretching (143.3 ± 13.9 to 148.2 ± 14°; P < .05) but remained unchanged in the CG (144.6 ± 16.8 to 143.3 ± 16.8°; P > .05). Our data point towards existence of a strain transfer along myofascial meridians. Further randomised controlled studies on conditions, factors and magnitude of tensile transmission are warranted.
Keywords: Myofascial chains; fascia; force transmission; meridians.