Purpose: To study the association between self-reported general tension and muscle tension, and clinically tested relaxation ability. Methods: Self-reports on muscle tension habits and on general tension, and the covariates neck and shoulder pain, perceived stress level, perceived mastery of work, quantitative work demands, and leisure time physical activity, were collected on a questionnaire (52 males, 81 females, mean age 23 years). A clinical test on relaxation ability was performed by a trained physiotherapist on a subsample (38 males, 39 females). Results: Perceived general tension showed a highly significant (p < 0.001) correlation with the muscle tension habit score (0.58), and the muscle tension factor (0.54). None of the self-reported tension measures correlated with the relaxation ability score. The self-reported tension measures, but not the clinical tension score, showed an association with neck and shoulder pain and perceived stress level. Conclusions: The self-reported measures of general tension and of muscle tension correlated and probably represented similar phenomenon. However, the subjects’ perceived stress level was to a higher degree reflected in the measure of general tension. The score of the clinical test on relaxation ability did not show an association with the self-reported tension measures.

Wærsted, Morten; Hanvold, Therese Nordberg; Veiersted, Kaj Bo
European Journal of Physiotherapy 15(1): 18–25
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