No clear benefits with slump stretching in low back pain
Slump stretching has positive effects on pain and disability in patients with low back pain (LBP), although the quality of evidence appears to be very low, according to a meta-analysis.
Researchers searched multiple online databases for clinical trials evaluating the effects of slump stretching vs sham or other physical therapy interventions in adult populations with LBP. All included studies reported short-term follow-up.
The primary outcomes were LBP and disability, while the secondary outcome was range of motion (ROM). Quality of evidence for the outcome measures was assessed using the GRADE approach.
Pooled data showed that slump stretching yielded large, significant effects on both pain (standardized mean difference [SMD], –2.15; 95 percent CI, –3.35 to –0.95) and disability (SMD, –8.03; –11.59 to –4.47) in the LBP population.
On qualitative synthesis of results, slump stretching produced a significant improvement in straight leg raise and active knee extension ROM.
There was significant heterogeneity among the included studies for the primary outcomes. Quality of evidence for pain and disability at short-term follow-up was very low in patients with LBP. When quality assessment only included high-quality studies, results showed a moderate grade of evidence that slump stretching could improve both outcomes.
A neurodynamic treatment, slump stretching involves sitting comfortably in a slouched position (thoracic and lumbar flexion with a posterior pelvic tilt) and then actively flexing the cervical spine as far as comfortably possible. Overpressure is then applied to the upper thoracic and lower cervical spine, and this position is sustained throughout the treatment procedure.
More high-quality studies regarding the long-term effects of slump stretching vs validated control intervention in a clinical setting are needed, researchers said.