Background. Perceived muscular tension (PMT) has been suggested to predict development of neck/shoulder pain. It has been hypothesized to be an early sign of musculoskeletal disorder and a possible mediator of stress on symptoms. However, the content of the concept of PMT is not clear. This study examined the association between PMT and physical and psychosocial factors and physical activity in a group of healthy students.
Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted on the baseline measurements of an ongoing longitudinal case-control study. A total of 63 healthy university students without complaints of neck/shoulder pain were included (21 males, 42 females, mean age 24 years). PMT was measured by asking the question “Have you, during the past month, experienced muscular tension (for example, wrinkled your forehead, ground your teeth, raised your shoulders)?” with the following response options: never, a few times, a few times per week, or one or several times per day. Self-reports on symptoms in the neck, anxiety, depression, stress, mental health, physical health, sleep and physical activity were collected with questionnaires, as well as by tenderness on palpation of neck muscles and trapezius pressure pain threshold. This produced a total of 15 variables. The relationship between these variables and PMT were analyzed using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient.
Results. Positive correlations were found between PMT and temporomandibular complaints (rho= .34, p < .001), neck crepitus (rho= .33, p < .001), anxiety (rho= .33, p < .001), depression (rho= .31, p < .05), tenderness on palpation (rho= .25, p < .05). There was a negative correlation between PMT and mental health (rho= -.26, p < .05). Frequent experience of PMT had weak to moderate correlations with frequency of symptoms and higher psychosocial strain, but not with stress. This suggests some covariance between PMT and both physical and psychosocial factors.
2016. 411-411 p.
9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, Toronto, June 20-23, 2016.