A randomized controlled single-blinded comparison of stretching versus stretching and joint mobilization for posterior shoulder tightness measured by internal rotation motion loss


Journal Article

Background: Posterior shoulder tightness, as demonstrated by limited internal rotation range of motion, is a suggested factor in many shoulder pathologies. Methods to increase posterior shoulder mobility may be beneficial. Hypothesis: Shoulder internal rotation range of motion will not change with either of 2 interventions: cross-body stretch alone and cross-body stretch plus posterior capsule joint mobilization. Study Design: Randomized controlled single-blinded clinical trial. Methods: The study comprised 39 college-age asymptomatic participants (7 men, 32 women) who were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: stretching only (n, 20) and stretching plus posterior joint mobilizations (n, 19). All had a betweenshoulder difference of internal rotation of 10° or more. Shoulder internal and external rotation was measured before and after a 4-week intervention period and 4 weeks postintervention. Participants in the stretching-only group performed the cross-body stretch on the limited side. Those in the other group (cross-body stretch plus joint mobilization) were treated with posterior joint mobilization techniques on the limited side. Results: Overall means for internal rotation of the treated shoulders significantly increased over baseline at the end of the intervention period and at 4 weeks postintervention. External rotation in all shoulders remained unchanged. By the end of intervention, total motion increased significantly from baseline but decreased significantly from the end of intervention to 4 weeks postintervention. Although not statistically significant, the second group (cross-body stretch plus joint mobilization) had greater increases in internal rotation. At 4 weeks postintervention, the second group had maintained its internal rotation gains to a greater degree than those of the stretching-only group. Conclusion: Internal rotation increased in both groups. Inclusion of joint mobilization in a rehabilitation program created trends toward increased shoulder internal rotation mobility. Clinical Relevance: Both methods-cross-body stretch and cross-body stretch plus joint mobilization-may be beneficial for those with limited internal rotation range of motion. © 2010 The Author(s).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Manske, RC; Meschke, M; Porter, A; Smith, B; Reiman, M

Published Date

  • March 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 94 - 100

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1941-0921

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1941-7381

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1941738109347775

Citation Source

  • Scopus