European Spine Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 417–424 | Cite as

The effect of daily walking steps on preventing neck and low back pain in sedentary workers: a 1-year prospective cohort study

  • Ekalak Sitthipornvorakul
  • Prawit JanwantanakulEmail author
  • Vitool Lohsoonthorn
Original Article



This study aimed to investigate the causal relationship between daily walking steps and the 1-year incidence of neck and low back pain in workers with sedentary jobs.


A 1-year prospective study was carried out among 387 workers who reported no spinal symptoms in the previous 3 months with pain intensity greater than 30 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale. Data were gathered using a self-administered questionnaire, physical examination, and pedometer. Follow-up data were collected every month for the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and every 3 months for daily walking steps. Two regression models were built to analyze the effect of daily walking steps on the 1-year incidence of neck and low back pain.


Among 367 (95 %) participants followed for 1 year, 16 and 14 % reported incident neck and low back pain, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, a negative association between daily walking steps and onset of neck pain was found. Increasing daily walking steps by 1,000 reduced the risk of neck pain by 14 %. No significant association between daily walking steps and the onset of low back pain was found.


Increasing daily walking steps is a protective factor for onset of neck pain in those with sedentary jobs. Interventions to reduce neck pain should include attempts to increase daily walking steps.


Pedometer Musculoskeletal disorder Office worker Exercise 



This work was funded by Chulalongkorn University Centenary Academic Development Project (#12).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ekalak Sitthipornvorakul
    • 1
  • Prawit Janwantanakul
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vitool Lohsoonthorn
    • 3
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Program of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Graduate SchoolChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Allied Health SciencesChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of MedicineChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

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