The Effect of Contralateral Exercise on Patient Pain and Range of Motion

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Clinical Scenario: Pain and range of motion (ROM) deficits are 2 issues that are commonly treated by clinicians. In certain instances, clinicians are tasked with treating patients who report with both pain and limited mobility. Currently, clinicians utilize a variety of different methods to combat pain and ROM limitations, but in singularity. However, contralateral exercises (CEs) may be a viable option that can have an effect on pain, ROM, or simultaneous effect on both. Clinical Question: For patients with pain and/or ROM deficits, will CE decrease pain and increase ROM? Summary of Findings: CE can have a significant effect on ipsilateral muscle activation, strength, as well as available motion on the contralateral limb. However, there is limited research on CE that explores effects on pain. Clinical Bottom Line: According to current evidence, CE can be a feasible option for clinicians trying to increase a patient’s ROM. Furthermore, there can be enhanced effects on stability, muscle strength, and muscle activation due to CE. Strength of Recommendation: Studies that have been included are a level of 4 or higher based on Center for Evidence Based Medicine. However, future studies both of higher levels and variability should be conducted.

Fermin and Larkins are with the Dept of Movement Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. Beene is with the Dept of Sports Medicine, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA. Wetzel is with the Dept of Athletic Training, Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, CA.

Address author correspondence to Larkins at lwarren@uidaho.edu.
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