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Perceived muscular tension predicts future neck-shoulder and arm-wrist-hand symptoms

PainSci » bibliography » Huysmans et al 2012
Tags: muscle pain, neck, shoulder, arm, elbow, hand & wrist, muscle, pain problems, head/neck, spine, limbs

One article on PainSci cites Huysmans 2012: The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks

PainSci commentary on Huysmans 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This experiment showed that neck and shoulder pain is at least four times more likely in people who often feel “tense.” Almost two thousand healthy office workers were studied for two years, reporting on their tension and symptoms every three months. If they were “sometimes” or “often” tense, they were 2.9 and 4.4 times as likely to develop neck and shoulder pain, and 1.5–2.3 times as likely to develop arm-wrist-hand trouble.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to investigate if perceived muscular tension predicts future neck-shoulder symptoms and arm-wrist-hand symptoms in symptom free office workers.

METHODS: Data were used of a prospective cohort of 1951 office workers with a follow-up duration of 2 years (the Prospective Research On Musculoskeletal disorders among Office workers (PROMO) study). Perceived muscular tension and covariates were measured using self-report at baseline and at 1-year follow-up. Symptoms were assessed every 3 months using self-report. According to their perceived muscular tension, participants were classified into three groups: 'never tensed', 'sometimes tensed' and 'often tensed'. Neck-shoulder cases and arm-wrist-hand cases were identified based on the transition of 'no' or 'sometimes' pain to 'regular' or 'prolonged' pain. Generalised estimating equations were used to estimate rate ratios (RRs) for becoming a new case.

RESULTS: Perceived muscular tension predicted future neck-shoulder symptoms and arm-wrist-hand symptoms, even when adjusted for symptoms in the past. The RRs for perceived muscular tension in relation to future neck-shoulder symptoms were higher than for future arm-wrist-hand symptoms. Participants who were sometimes or often tensed had a 2.9 and 4.4 times higher risk, respectively, of becoming a future neck-shoulder case than those who were never tensed. For arm-wrist-hand symptoms, the risk of becoming a future case was 1.5 and 2.3, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Perceived muscular tension predicted future neck-shoulder symptoms and arm-wrist-hand symptoms. Future research should further explore the concept of perceived muscular tension and what role it has in the onset of symptoms in order to make use of it in interventions to prevent symptoms.

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