Analysis of Muscle Tightness within College Student Experiences : Improving Symptom Knowledge and Clinician Care
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College students are considered to be one of the healthiest populations with a perceived high quality of life (QoL). This QoL often fails to measure many medical problems that go unnoticed by both the students and medical clinicians. Muscle tightness is an invisible symptom that constantly challenges students’ QoL as diagnosis may not be accurate due to issue in measuring this condition. The measurement problems have yet to be fully addressed in the medical field; however, clinicians continue to diagnose muscle tightness based on their own subjective perceptions resulting in patient care that may be suboptimal. This study seeks to answer two questions; what are the specific traits of muscle tightness in college students and what is the relationship between muscle tightness and pain. The aims of this study were to (1) identify attributes of muscle tightness in college students, (2) differentiate between muscle tightness and muscle weakness in college students, (3) identify if pain correlates to muscle tightness, and (4) identify strategies to managing muscle tightness and pain. We seek to accomplish these aims by using an adaptation of Dr. Bhimani’s muscle tightness tool version 2 questionnaire, which allows for input from students who are experiencing this condition. Muscle tightness has many traits/attributes where general physical limitations, decrease in range of motion (ROM), changes in muscle texture, sensation, restriction in the body and can be accompanied with or without pain. Muscle tightness requires conceptual clarity to define and develop a tool that can accurately measure it and be differentiated from muscle weakness through different attributes. Our results indicate that limitation in physical activities, restrictions in body, inability to relax muscle are attributes of muscle tightness. Muscle tightness’ relationship to pain was significant and it hindered student’s daily and recreational activities. Student-identified multiple strategies that improved and worsened their symptom experiences. This research offers clinicians a basic foundation to recognize muscle tightness symptoms, provides conceptual clarity, and identifies possible management techniques that can be implemented into clinical practice for better clinician care and outcomes.