European Spine Journal

, Volume 17, Supplement 1, pp 60–74

The Burden and Determinants of Neck Pain in Workers

Results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders
  • Pierre Côté
  • Gabrielle van der Velde
  • J. David Cassidy
  • Linda J. Carroll
  • Sheilah Hogg-Johnson
  • Lena W. Holm
  • Eugene J. Carragee
  • Scott Haldeman
  • Margareta Nordin
  • Eric L. Hurwitz
  • Jaime Guzman
  • Paul M. Peloso
Best Evidence

DOI: 10.1007/s00586-008-0626-9

Cite this article as:
Côté, P., van der Velde, G., David Cassidy, J. et al. Eur Spine J (2008) 17(Suppl 1): 60. doi:10.1007/s00586-008-0626-9

Study Design

Systematic review and best evidence synthesis.

Objectives

To describe the prevalence and incidence of neck pain and disability in workers; to identify risk factors for neck pain in workers; to propose an etiological diagram; and to make recommendations for future research.

Summary of Background Data

Previous reviews of the etiology of neck pain in workers relied on cross-sectional evidence. Recently published cohorts and randomized trials warrant a re-analysis of this body of research.

Methods

We systematically searched Medline for literature published from 1980–2006. Retrieved articles were reviewed for relevance. Relevant articles were critically appraised. Articles judged to have adequate internal validity were included in our best evidence synthesis.

Results

One hundred and nine papers on the burden and determinants of neck pain in workers were scientifically admissible. The annual prevalence of neck pain varied from 27.1% in Norway to 47.8% in Québec, Canada. Each year, between 11% and 14.1% of workers were limited in their activities because of neck pain. Risk factors associated with neck pain in workers include age, previous musculoskeletal pain, high quantitative job demands, low social support at work, job insecurity, low physical capacity, poor computer workstation design and work posture, sedentary work position, repetitive work and precision work. We found preliminary evidence that gender, occupation, headaches, emotional problems, smoking, poor job satisfaction, awkward work postures, poor physical work environment, and workers’ ethnicity may be associated with neck pain. There is evidence that interventions aimed at modifying workstations and worker posture are not effective in reducing the incidence of neck pain in workers.

Conclusion

Neck disorders are a significant source of pain and activity limitations in workers. Most neck pain results from complex relationships between individual and workplace risk factors. No prevention strategies have been shown to reduce the incidence of neck pain in workers.

Keywords

neck pain work disability sick leave systematic review epidemiology incidence risk factors etiology 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Côté
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Gabrielle van der Velde
    • 4
    • 5
    • 2
    • 1
  • J. David Cassidy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Linda J. Carroll
    • 6
  • Sheilah Hogg-Johnson
    • 4
    • 7
  • Lena W. Holm
    • 8
  • Eugene J. Carragee
    • 9
    • 10
  • Scott Haldeman
    • 11
    • 12
  • Margareta Nordin
    • 13
    • 14
  • Eric L. Hurwitz
    • 15
  • Jaime Guzman
    • 16
    • 17
  • Paul M. Peloso
    • 18
  1. 1.Centre of Research Expertise in Improved Disability Outcomes (CREIDO)University Health Network Rehabilitation Solutions, Toronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Health Care and Outcomes ResearchToronto Western Research InstituteTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Departments of Public Health Sciences and Health Policy, Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Institute for Work & HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Health Policy, Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of Public Health Sciences, and the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  7. 7.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  9. 9.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  10. 10.Orthopaedic Spine Center and Spinal Surgery ServiceStanford University Hospital and ClinicsStanfordUSA
  11. 11.Department of NeurologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  12. 12.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  13. 13.Departments of Orthopaedics and Environmental Medicine and Program of Ergonomics and Biomechanics, School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and ScienceNY UniversityNew YorkUSA
  14. 14.Occupational and Industrial Orthopaedic Center (OIOC)NY University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  15. 15.Department of Public Health Sciences, John A. Burns School of MedicineUniversity of Hawaii at MānoaHonoluluUSA
  16. 16.Department of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  17. 17.Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare in BCVancouverCanada
  18. 18.Endocrinology, Analgesia and InflammationMerck & Co.RahwayUSA

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