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

Abstract

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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Acknowledgments

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

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Correspondence to Prawit Janwantanakul.

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Sitthipornvorakul, E., Janwantanakul, P. & Lohsoonthorn, V. The effect of daily walking steps on preventing neck and low back pain in sedentary workers: a 1-year prospective cohort study. Eur Spine J 24, 417–424 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-014-3577-3

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Keywords

  • Pedometer
  • Musculoskeletal disorder
  • Office worker
  • Exercise