Understanding Symptoms of Muscle Tightness, Weakness, and Rigidity from a Nursing Perspective

Rozina H. Bhimani, Daanish Soomar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose This study examined the nature of muscle tightness from nurses' perspectives and explored how the symptoms of muscle tightness are communicated, managed, and differentiated from other conditions, such as muscle rigidity and muscle weakness. Design An exploratory, descriptive qualitative design was used. Methods Eight rehabilitation nurses described lexicons, care strategies, and communication for muscle tightness, weakness, and rigidity. Findings Nurses used conflicting terms to describe muscle tightness, weakness, and rigidity. They identified medications and range of motion as the best strategies to manage muscle conditions. Nurses approach care holistically and do not differentiate care strategies that are based only on a symptoms lens. Conclusions Nurses were unable to clearly differentiate between muscle tightness and rigidity. Clinical Relevance Nurses influence patients' choice of vocabulary; therefore, they must use simple but precise terminologies to educate their patients. Miscommunication between nurses and patients can lead to errors, which can have negative consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalRehabilitation Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 10 2019


  • Muscle tightness
  • muscle rigidity
  • muscle weakness
  • nursing
  • qualitative research

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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