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Plastic vs. Elastic Deformation: Time and Technique

12

Plastic vs. Elastic Deformation: Time and Technique

The following is an article some members may find useful in thinking about and developing more effective PE routines.

If you’re in a hurry, just skip down to the last paragraph.

==========
Soft Tissue
Warren Hammer, MS, DC, DABCO
Myofascial Release
For the past six months I have had intermittent upper thoracic pain. I was relieved by spinal adjustments and stretching but the pain reoccurred. I was recently analyzed for fascial restrictions and was informed that my pectoral muscles were tight and tender on deep palpation probably creating tension on the posterior upper dorsal soft tissues. Analysis from the posterior revealed slight winging of my scapulae. After receiving a five minute myofascial release over my pectoral muscles, my upper thoracic pain completely abated and has not returned.
I credit this treatment and other successes that I have seen in my practice to the works of John F. Barnes who has been a PT for over 30 years. He originally learned manipulative procedures from John McM. Mennell in 1963. Besides lecturing on myofascial release all over the world, he runs two clinics: one in Paoli, Pennsylvania; the second in Sedona, Arizona.

According to Barnes1 “fascia is a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot functionally without interruption. The fascia surrounds and infuses with every organ, muscle, bone and blood vessel all the way down to the cellular level.” He states that fascial strains can slowly tighten and cause the body to lose its physiologic adaptive capacity. Over time, the tightness spreads like the pull in a sweater. Unfortunately, fascia, an elastocollagenous complex, can become solidified and shortened by trauma, inflammation and chronic poor posture. Fascial restriction can create abnormal strain patterns that can pull the osseous structures out of proper alignment or too close together, resulting in compression of the facet joints or disc, producing pain and/or dysfunction.

I feel one of Barnes most important contributions in his discovery that ordinary stretching and manipulation will primarily affect the elastiomuscular component but will not affect the collagenous barrier. The viscous in viscoelastic tissue is part of the ground substance which can undergo a plastic deformation while the elastic portion rebounds. The viscous portion has the capacity to “creep” or progressively deform with a constant load. Palpation and movement of the skin should reveal equal movement in all directions. Diminished movement in a particular direction usually represents the barrier. The skin may feel warm and the fascial tissue below the skin may feel leathery, tender, or string-like. To create a permanent deformation, Barnes applies a gentle pressure to the restricted fascial tissue. The pressure will stretch out until the firmer collagenous barrier is reached. At this point the practitioner must gently hold this contact without any additional pressure for at least 90 to 120 seconds and sometimes as long as five minutes. The hand will automatically move in the direction of the barriers. The hand moves as the temperature increases; sometimes, because of perspiration, the practitioner must gently press down to prevent sliding. Barnes1 states that you cannot mechanically overstretch fascia, which has a tension of 2,000 lbs. per square inch. “The improvements seen after myofascial release are probably due to stretching of the elastic component, shearing of the cross-links that can develop at the nodal points of the fascia, and change in the viscosity of the ground substance from a more solid to a gel state. This change in viscosity increases the production of hyaluronic acid and increases the glide of the fascial tissue. There is also a positive effect on the spindle cells and Golgi tendon organs of the musculotendinous component, and the tone of the peripheral, autonomic and central nervous system.”1

Reference:

1. Barnes JF. Myofascial Release: The Search for Excellence, A Comprehensive Evaluatory and Treatment Approach. Paoli, PA: Rehab Services, Inc. & Myofascial Release Seminar: 1990.
==========

There’s a lot of brain-power on this forum. Chime in guys.
Thoughts, comments, applications?


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

Hmmm…so an infrared heater and a rolling pin might just be the way to go.


It's better to think you're doing something than to sit back and wonder what might have been Start: 12/2003 EBPL: 7 15/16 EG: 5 1/4 Now: 12/2004 EBPL: 8 1/2 EG: 5 5/8 (pumped is 5 7/8 mid, 6.25 base) FL: 6.25

From another source

Types of Stretch (Deformation of the Connective Tissue)

Elastic: - Spring-like action in which any lengthening of the connective tissue that occurs during stretching is recovered when the load is removed.
- Muscle fiber has only elastic properties.

Plastic: - Elongation occurs even after the load is removed.
- Ligaments & tendons have both plastic and elastic properties.
- Connective tissue has both. When the stretch is removed, the elastic deformation recovers and the plastic deformation remains.

Application: Stretching techniques should be designed to induce Plastic Deformation [if permanent ROM increase is goal].

Warm-Up & Stretching
Warm-Up: Activity that raises body temperature as well as the temperature of the muscles to prepare the body for more vigorous exercise:
- Increased friction of sliding filaments during muscular contraction
- Increased metabolism of fuels
- Dilation of intra-muscular blood vessels
- Increased R-O-M around joints from elevated temperatures lowering muscle/tendon/ligament viscosity.

Static Stretching:
- Passive activity that creates little increase in core temperature (no sliding filaments)
- Little increase in the rate energy fuels are being metabolized
- No need for blood vessels to dilate

Three Types of Warm-Up:
1. General: Movements that generally have nothing to do with the activity that follows.

2. Specific: Movements that are part of the upcoming activity. Rehearsal of movements that are to take place in the main activity.

3. Passive: Massage, sauna, Jacuzzi, showers, heating pads, etc.

Application: A quality flexibility program should always begin with activities designed to increase core temperature.

Types of Flexibility Training

1. Ballistic: Rapid, jerky movement in which the body part is put into motion and momentum carries it through the ROM? until the muscles are stretched to the limits.
Disadvantages:
- Opportunity of exceeding limits of extensibility of tissues involved
- Muscle soreness
- Activation of stretch reflex???

2. Dynamic: Exercises that use sport-specific movements to prepare the body for activity by analyzing the
movements associated with a sport activity and developing stretches to enhance flexibility amahe same as in static stretch, but it is preceded by and followed by some form of movement. The line between Dynamic
stretch and Ballistic stretch is thin. Dynamic stretching crosses into ballistic stretching easily.
Some experts propose they are different names for the same technique.

3. Static: Most common used technique to increase flexibility. Avoids activation of stretch reflex. Develops relaxation.
Disadvantages:
- Not applicable to sports and activities which require full ROM movements
- If doing static stretches before dynamic stretches:
1 Minimum hold of 10 seconds.
2 Perform 3 – 5 times.
3 Overstretch to the point of mild tension, but not pain.
4 Maintain regular breathing pattern in harmony with the stretch itself.

Active: Using ones own muscle without assistance.

Passive: Something/someone else assists stretch.

Active-Passive: (Active-Assisted) Utilizes one’s own muscles followed by assistance from another person.

Passive-Active: Assisted stretching followed by work done by own muscles.

PNF: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation: Developed by physiotherapists. Studies have shown greatest gains in flexibility are with PNF. Promotes the neuromuscular mechanisms involved in flexibility through stimulation of proprioceptors.


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

One more:

When stretching, connective tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons) is the central target of the exercise. Although muscle is not technically deemed a connective tissue makeup, studies have revealed that when a relaxed muscle is stretched, all of the resistance to stretch is a derivative from the extensive connective tissue framework and sheathing within and around the muscle.

Under normal circumstances, connective tissue is the major structure limiting joint extent of motion. Furthermore, range of motion is primarily limited by one or more connective tissue structures, including ligamentous joint capsules, tendons and muscles (McArdle, W.D., F.I. Katch, and V.I. Katch).

There are two fundamental types of stretch that occur. These are referred to as elastic and plastic.

An elastic stretch is a “spring-like” action in which any lengthening of the connective tissue that occurs during stretching is recovered when the load is removed. This makes elastic stretch a momentary condition. In contrast, the elongation that occurs in a plastic stretch remains, even after the load is removed, making a more permanent aftereffect.

Muscle has only elastic properties, whereas ligaments and tendons have both plastic and elastic properties. As connective tissue is stretched, some of the lengthening transpires in the elastic tissue elements and some in the plastic elements. When the stretch is removed, the elastic deformation recovers, but the plastic deformation remains.

This reveals that stretching procedures should primarily be premeditated to produce a plastic deformation, as a permanent increase in ROM is the objective.

When stretching, the proportion of elastic and plastic deformation can vary, depending on how and under what conditions the flexibility training occurs.

Emphasizing stretching to the position of mild distress (defined as intensity level), holding the selected stretched arrangement for a period of time (defined as duration) and stretching only when the core temperature has been elevated will support plastic stretch!

“Warm-up” and static stretching are not synonymous, as static stretching does little in the way of increasing body temperatures. “Warm-up” is an activity that raises the total body temperature, as well as the temperature of the muscles, to prepare the body for intense exercise. The increase in tissue temperature that occurs during warm-up is the result of three physiological processes (Anderson, B., and E.R. Burke. pp. 63-86):

(a) Friction of the sliding filaments during muscular contraction

(b) The metabolism of fuels and

(c) The dilation of intramuscular blood vessels.

Theoretically, the following physiological changes take place during warm-up and should enhance performance:

· The temperature increases within the muscles that are being recruited during the warm-up session. A warmed muscle contracts more forcefully and relaxes more quickly. Because of this, both speed and strength should be enhanced during exercise.

· The temperature of the blood as it travels through the working muscle increases. It is an established fact that as blood temperature rises, the amount of oxygen it can hold becomes reduced (especially at the partial pressures in the muscle). This makes available more oxygen to the working muscles.

· The ROM around joints is increased because elevated core temperatures lower muscle, tendon and ligament viscosity (Anderson, B., and E.R. Burke. pp. 63-86).

Because of these changes, many researchers believe that heavy load static stretching should occur only after warming up. The benefits of increasing muscle temperature prior to flexibility training are accepted by a majority of strength and conditioning professionals. The physiological responses that occur after warming up warrant the continuation of the warm-up as a method to prepare the body for flexibility training.


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

Interesting. This sort of suggests we should warm up more than our peckers when doing PE. Perhaps PE should optimally follow a more general physical workout that raises core temperature.


Enter your measurements in the PE Database.

Shiver, ModestoMan and a number of other smart cats have already covered most of what is mentioned in those articles.

What I found most interesting was this sentence in the first article.
“The practitioner must gently hold this contact without any additional pressure for at least 90 to 120 seconds and sometimes as long as five minutes.”

You see a lot of guys doing manual stretches in the 30-60 second range. I wonder what, if any, difference it would make to do the same total number of minutes of stretching at 30 secs. vs 120 sec. In other words, if you did 5 x 120 sec vs. 20 x 30 sec using the same amount of tension would it give you more plastic deformation?


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

Sounds like a very sound theory worth trying.

I was always told in gymnastics that stretches must be held for a long time to be any good. I don’t see how it would hurt to hold it longer for PE as well.

Very good clinical discovery. I really like this simple concept. No way I’m trying a rolling pin though. Ha ha

Thanks MX


Started: April 18th, 2005 BPEL: 7.0 in. EG: 5.3 in. May 18th, 2005 BPEL: 7.5 in.

Thanks for a great read. I think I am going to start hanging again, I always get fatigued in my hands when trying to hold stretches for a long time.

PS What do you mean by “rolling a pin”?

Great stuff MX! More info to process into the PE equation.

Thanks for the excellent contribution.

My PE warm up is exercise as if your hearts well worked out you’ll get good blood flow

Wad’s Big Gainer friend would certainly seem to agree with the theory of longer stretching periods leading to plastic deformation.

Scroll down to the section of the interview headed stretching


Cheers,

Zig

Good stuff guys. Keep it coming.

For anyone interested in reading more, there are excellent discussions in these threads:

Connective tissue- FIRST “THREAD OF THE YEAR”
Connective tissue- FIRST "THREAD OF THE YEAR"

Deformation: Intensity, Method and Recovery guidelines
Deformation: Intensity, Method and Recovery guidelines


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher


Last edited by MX : 05-01-2005 at .

Originally Posted by Ziggaman
Wad’s Big Gainer friend would certainly seem to agree with the theory of longer stretching periods leading to plastic deformation.

Scroll down to the section of the interview headed stretching


Good catch Ziggaman. That’s the kind of experiential-example we’re looking for.

For those of you too lazy to go look at it, here’s to passage:
“Stretching….never pulled very vigorously….held each stretch rather long (usually 3 minutes or more)….started with about 5 minutes worth of stretching….later added rotary stretches after his standard stretches…usually pulled straight out and also straight up….never did downward stretching.

He was very methodical about progression. Every 3 weeks or so, he would increase both his jelq time & his stretch time by about 2-3 minutes each.”


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

Originally Posted by MX
….What I found most interesting was this sentence in the first article.
“The practitioner must gently hold this contact without any additional pressure for at least 90 to 120 seconds and sometimes as long as five minutes.”

You see a lot of guys doing manual stretches in the 30-60 second range. I wonder what, if any, difference it would make to do the same total number of minutes of stretching at 30 secs. vs 120 sec. In other words, if you did 5 x 120 sec vs. 20 x 30 sec using the same amount of tension would it give you more plastic deformation?

I’ve been long convinced that Time is more critical than Tension; those traction devices (PM, etc.) prove that. Even a hardcore hanger like Bib said that you should increase weight only when you have to - not sooner.

Funny that you should stumble upon that article. In my thread about the Big Gainer I know, I outlined his stretching approach - 3 minute sets (his 180-second holds were well beyond the 90-120 second range in your article). He emphasized moderate intensity to me (in stretching & jelqing) and boasted that he never sustained even the slightest injury doing this.

He also boasted gains of 4” EL and more than 1.5” EG.

Principles of Thermal Energy

A few more interesting tidbits
======================

Principles of Thermal Energy

Specific Heat
Amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of the substance by a given number of degrees.
Expressed in joules per gram per degrees Celsius.
More energy is required to raise the temperature of tissues with a high specific heat to the same level than those with a lower specific heat.
Tissues of high specific heat hold their heat longer.
Look at table 6-1 on page 126. Which thermal agent would be applied the hottest, whirlpool or fluidotherapy?

Modes of Heat Transfer
Conduction - Heat transfer by direct constant contact
Convection - Heat transfer by a circulating medium
Conversion - Heat transfer by changing from one form of energy to another.
Radiation - Heat transfer directly without the need for an intervening medium.
Evaporation - Heat transfer due to absorption of energy as a result of conversion.

Effects of Thermal Agents

Heat - Thermotherapy
Pain Control - Neuromuscular effects
Changes in nerve conduction velocity & firing rate
Increased pain threshold
Changes in muscle strength
Increase Circulation - Hemodynamic effects
Vasodilation -
Direct relaxation of the smooth muscles of the vessels
Stimulation of vessels to release bradykinin
Indirect activation of local spinal cord reflexes
Increased blood flow = Increased nutrients for healing
Increased Soft Tissue Extensibility - Collagen altering effects
Plastic deformation occurs when collagenous tissue is heated to 40-45 degrees Celsius (104-113F) just prior to being stretched
Elastic deformation occurs when collagenous tissue is stretched without prior heating.
Collagenous tissue includes tendons, ligaments, scar and joint capsules.
Increased ROM and a decrease in joint stiffness are possible after clinical heat applications.
Increased Metabolic Rate - Metabolic effects - Enhances healing
Increased enzymatic activity has been seen in tissues at 39-43C (102-109F)
Enzyme activity rates begin decreasing beyond 45C and cease completely at 50C (122F).
Any increase in enzyme rate will increase the cellular biochemical processes and the uptake of oxygen resulting in accelerated healing
Increase of tissue temperature shifts the oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve to the right which releases more oxygen for tissue repair. Hemoglobin releases twice as much O2 when tissue temperature is 41C. (106F) than when it is at resting temperature.
Contraindications of Thermotherapy
Acute injury or inflammation
Do not apply for the first 48-72 hours after injury
Obtain subjective history and assess skin temperature and color.
Over areas of recent or potential hemorrhage
Obtain subjective history and visually inspect for ecchymosis.
Do not apply heat for the first 48-72 hours after ecchymosis became present or bleeding stopped.
Thrombophlebitis (Clot in the vessel)
Vasodilation and increase in circulation could cause clot to become dislodged and move to a vital organ.
Check calf for swelling and tenderness (Homan’s Sign).
Ask the patient if they are aware of any clots that may be present in the part.
Do not apply heat over an area in question until a thrombus is ruled out by a physician.
Impaired sensation, cognition or ability to communicate
Patient feedback is the primary mechanism for the safe application of heat.
Assess the patient’s ability to sense heat or pain before applying the modality.
Also assess the patient’s mental and physical ability to communicate what they are experiencing.
Do not apply heat to patient’s that are confused or unable to physically remove the heat if it becomes to hot.
Over malignant tissue
Heat may increase the growth rate of a malignant tumor or cause it to matastasize.
If patient history includes unexplained weight loss, constant pain that does not change, and/or night sweats, do not apply heat over the area until cancer has been ruled out by a physician.
Precautions for the Use of Thermotherapy
Pregnancy

Impaired circulation

Patients with poor thermoregulatory function

Patients with cardiac insufficiency

Superficial foreign metal and implants

Over areas where a topical counterirritant has been recently applied.

Cold - Cryotherapy

Neuromuscular effects
Pain Control
Decreased nerve conduction velocity especially A-delta fibers
Elevated pain threshold through the “gating” of the pain and the relief of spasm. Spasm reduction comes from the interruption of the pain-spasm-pain cycle caused by the reduction in the sensation of pain.
Decreased Spasticity
Initially through a decrease in gamma motor neuron activity as a reflex reaction to the cold applied to the cutaneous thermoreceptors.
After more prolonged cooling, 10-30 mins, discharges of the afferent spindles and GTO’s are decreased and these effects can persist for up to 90 minutes.
Altered Muscle Strength
Isometric muscle strength increases in short cooling period of 5 minutes or less.
Isometric muscle strength then begins to decline below precooling strength during the long cooling period of 30 mins. or longer.
Isometric muscle strength then increases beyond precooling strength for 1-3 hours after.

Hemodynamic Effects
Vasoconstriction/ Decreased Blood Flow
Thermoreceptors activate the smooth muscle tissue in the vessels to contract.
Decreases the production of vasodilator mediators of histamine and prostaglandin.
Cooling of the tissue temperature also causes a sympathetic response that results in a cutaneous vasoconstriction.
Cold causes an increases blood viscosity making it resistant to flowing.
Erythema probably not because of increase in circulation, but because of the high concentration of oxyhemoglobin.
Vasodilation in Distal Extremities
Hunting Response
Cold Induced Vasodilation (CIVD) when tissue temperature lowers to less than 10C.(50F). Not a consistent response to prolonged application of cold.
Edema Control
Reduced blood flow reduces intravascular pressure.
Cryotherapy used in conjunction with compression and elevation (RICE) reduces edema by driving extravascular fluid into the lymphatic and venous systems.
Cryotherapy is not effective against edema caused by immobility or venous insufficiency.
Metabolic Effects - Inflammation Control
Metabolic rate is decreased.
Activity of cartilage dissolving enzymes is impeded by lowering the temperature of the joint.
Almost ceases at 30C. (86F.).
Cryotherapy recommended for prevention or reduction of destructive joint diseases such as RA and OA.
Those process that are involved in the inflammation process are also decreased.
Cold should be applied as soon after the trauma as possible.
Cold should be applied throughout the acute inflammatory phase for periods of 15 minutes or less..
Treatments should be at least one hour apart so the tissue can return to normal temperature.
Contraindications of Cryotherapy
Cold Hypersensitivity
Cold-induced urticaria
Cold intolerance
Cryoglobulinemia - aggregation of serum proteins
Special care when applying to distal extremities of RA and lupus erythematosus patients.
May also be idiopathic in nature
Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria- lysed hemoglobin released into the urine due to exposure to cold.
Raynaud’s disease and phenomenon - sudden pallor and cyanosis followed by redness.
Patient should be asked if they normally develop a rash, severe pain, a change in color or find blood in their urine after being exposed to cold.
Over regenerating nerves
Over an area with circulatory insufficiency or peripheral vascular disease.
Assess skin quality and color.
Assess skin temperature and presence of edema.
Precautions
Over a superficial nerve

Over an open wound

Patients with hypertension

Patients with poor sensation or who are not cognitively aware.

The very young or the very old

Adverse Effects of Cryotherapy
Tissue death
Frostbite
Nerve damage
Unwanted vasodilation


Started: 2/03, Finished: 5/06, Total Gains: 1.375” BPEL 1.5” EG, Details: Progress after a year or longer off?

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible—M. C. Escher

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