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Chiropractic Research Review

Stretching vs. Manipulation for Hamstring

For athletes, as well as the amateur sports enthusiast, stretching before and after a game, run or swim can aid in performance and protect the body from injury. One of the more commonly strained muscles in the body is the hamstring.

In a recent clinical study, researchers compared the effects of both stretching and sacroiliac joint manipulation on the hamstring muscle.

As part of the three-week trial, 15 volunteers who passed the initial criteria and had a passive straight leg raise (SLR) less than or equal to 70 degrees were randomly divided into either the stretching or stretching/manipulation group. Both groups participated in a stretching exercise two times a day and were tested twice a week using the passive SLR and back saver sit and reach (BSSR) tests. During the testing portions, the manipulation group also received bilateral sacroiliac joint manipulations. A final test was performed one week after the trial ended.

In the end, although members of both groups saw positive results, the manipulation group saw a greater benefit, as shown by both test results. The participants who received both treatments saw a mean change of almost 11 degrees in the left leg and close to 9 degrees in the right leg in the SLR test over the stretching group. The BSSR test results only showed a little over 1cm change for the right leg and less than 0.5cm improvement for the left leg over the stretching group. Although the results showed a greater improvement for the group that combined stretching and manipulation, the researchers feel more testing must be conducted to confirm that manipulation has a greater effect.


Fox M. Effect on hamstring flexibility of hamstring stretching compared to hamstring stretching and sacroiliac joint manipulation. Clinical Chiropractic 2006;9:21-32.

Chiropractic Research Review

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