Effects of stretching for posterior shoulder tightness
Posterior shoulder tightness (PST) and glenohumeral internal rotation deficit (GIRD) are common impairments found in overhead athletes, and may contribute to shoulder impingement symptoms. This systematic review found that the cross-body stretch can improve PST and GIRD in asymptomatic young subjects immediately or in the short term. There is moderate evidence to suggest that the sleeper stretch is less effective when compared to passive cross-body stretch in the short term, and no more effective than no intervention.
10 low to high-quality studies were included in this review. Each study assessed either passive IR ROM at 90° abduction or passive horizontal adduction ROM, or both. The authors recommended the use of active, passive or muscle energy technique forms of cross-body stretch to improve posterior shoulder stretch and GIRD in the short-term. Other stretching interventions, such as active sleeper stretch, all-fours posterior stretching or prone-passive stretching technique can be attempted instead when crossbody stretch is provocative or not effective. Performing a combination of active cross-body stretch, sleeper stretch and overhead triceps stretch between pitching sessions may also be helpful to decrease PST and GIRD in baseball pitchers.
Limitations of this study include the small sample sizes of the included RCT's, the lack of symptomatic population groups and a lack of dosage information or the length of time of stretches that were performed.
> From: Mine et al., J Sport Rehabil 26 (2017-12-06 09:13:23) 294-305. All rights reserved to Human Kinetics, Inc. Click here for the online summary.