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Muscle stretching with deep and slow breathing patterns: a pilot study for therapeutic development

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Abstract

Background Chronic neck pain is frequently found in office workers affecting quality of life; also, stress is one participating factor. Though stretching incorporating deep-slow breathing (DSB) has benefits on health, an effective and suitable technique for office workers to perform in the workplace is a gap in need of fulfilment. Methods We explored the effective pattern of stretching with DSB to reduce neck tension and promote relaxation within the shortest time. Thirty-two female participants with neck tension were allocated into two steps totaling five patterns (n=8 for each pattern). Firstly, they performed two patterns; two other patterns were developed and compared with DSB alone. Muscle tension, pain score, and heart rate variability (HRV) were immediately measured. Results All patterns performed with the eyes closed decreased muscle tension more than those performed with the eyes open; the pain amid all stretching groups subsequently decreased. Only a bout of slow stretching, performed synchronously with the eyes closed along with a period of deep inhalation increased the parasympathetic activity of HRV; an increase in pain was reported after stretching. Conclusions A slowed and synchronized pattern between stretching with DSB and eyes closed period, performed at least four times repeatedly rendered benefits in reducing neck pain and tension, in addition to promoting relaxation within a short period; however, the DSB pattern and the feeling of the stretched muscle to promote relaxation were individual differences. Thus, future studies should come up with apposite training methods adjusted to fit individuals; self-awareness toward these aspects ought to be encouraged.

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... Hence, we developed a new application-based exercise for neck pain management. The development of the exercise, stretching that incorporates deep slow breathing, is based on the pilot study of Wongwilairat et al. [20] and is applied through a smartphone application to reduce pain and tension in the muscles around the neck. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the immediate effects on a visual analog scale, muscle tension, pressure pain threshold, and cervical range of motion and to assess the acceptability of NeckProtector through a Likertscale survey and open-ended questionnaires. ...
... The exercise program based on a previous study [20] consists of five postures, as shown in Figure 5. The theoretical framework of the intervention is based on the concept of static stretching and mindfulness meditation [21], which is presented in Figures 2-5. ...
... However, negative responses showed that some participants felt confused about the sessions of exercise because the commands to close and open their eyes were difficult for those who started the exercise. The pilot study of Wongwilairat et al. [20] found that stretching with closed-eyes reduced pain and muscle tension more than stretching with open eyes. For an exercise program that one accesses through an application, it is necessary to look at the smartphone to be able to exercise properly, which may not feel comfortable to some users if they have to close their eyes. ...
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Article
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The visual analog scale (VAS) is one of the most commonly used measures of pain intensity in pain research. However, there remain important unanswered questions concerning interpretation of specific VAS ratings and change scores. To address these questions, we performed a reanalysis of data from 2 randomized controlled trials of postoperative pain (N = 123 and N = 125) to determine the meaning of VAS pain intensity ratings and change scores. The findings suggested that 100-mm VAS ratings of 0 to 4 mm can be considered no pain; 5 to 44 mm, mild pain; 45 to 74 mm, moderate pain; and 75 to 100 mm, severe pain. As predicted, in assessment of the amount of change corresponding to differing levels of pain relief, percentage change in a patient's VAS score was less biased by pretreatment pain than was absolute change score. The findings also suggested that a 33% decrease in pain represents a reasonable standard for determining that a change in pain is meaningful from the patient's perspective.
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The available literature consistently shows increased pain sensitivity after sensory stimulation of healthy tissues in patients who have various chronic pain conditions. This indicates a state of hypersensitivity of the CNS that amplifies the nociceptive input arising from damaged tissues. Experimental data indicate that central hypersensitivity is probably induced primarily by nociceptive input arising from a diseased tissue. In patients, imbalance of descending modulatory systems connected with psychologic distress may play a role. There is experimental support in animal studies for the persistence of central hypersensitivity after complete resolution of tissue damage. This is particularly true for neuropathic pain conditions, whereby potentially irreversible plasticity changes of the CNS have been documented in animal studies. Whether such changes are present in musculoskeletal pain states is at present uncertain. Despite the likely importance of central hypersensitivity in the pathophysiology of chronic pain, this mechanism should not be used to justify the lack of understanding on the anatomic origin of the pain complaints in several pain syndromes, which is mostly due to limitations of the available diagnostic tools. Treatment strategies for central hypersensitivity in patients have been investigated mostly in neuropathic pain states. Possible therapy modalities for central hypersensitivity in chronic pain of musculoskeletal origin are largely unexplored. The limited evidence available and everyday practice show, at best, modest efficacy of the available treatment modalities for central hypersensitivity. The gap between basic knowledge and clinical benefits remains large and should stimulate further intensive research.
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Unlabelled: To identify the effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP), we conducted a qualitative study based on grounded theory and used content analysis of diary entries from older adults who had participated in a clinical trial of an 8-week mindfulness meditation program. Participants were 27 adults > or = 65 years of age with CLBP of at least moderate severity and of at least 3 months duration. We found several themes reflecting the beneficial effects of mindfulness meditation on pain, attention, sleep, and achieving well-being. Various methods of pain reduction were used, including distraction, increased body awareness leading to behavior change, better pain coping, and direct pain reduction through meditation. Participants described improved attention skills. A number of participants reported improved sleep latency as well as quality of sleep. Participants described achieving well-being during and after a meditation session that had immediate effects on mood elevation but also long-term global effects on improved quality of life. Several themes were identified related to pain reduction, improved attention, improved sleep, and achieving well-being resulting from mindfulness meditation that suggest it has promising potential as a nonpharmacologic treatment of chronic pain for older adults. Perspective: Community-dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain experience numerous benefits from mindfulness meditation including less pain, improved attention, better sleep, enhanced well-being, and improved quality of life. Additional research is needed to determine how mindfulness meditation works and how it might help with other chronic illnesses.
Handbook of integrative clinical psychology, psychiatry and behavioral medicine: perspectives, practices and research
  • C Braboszcz
  • S Hahusseau
  • A Delorme
Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. Heart rate variability: standards of measurement, physiological interpretation and clinical use