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A Longitudinal Evaluation Of Risk Factors And Interactions For The Development Of Nonspecific Neck Pain In Office Workers In Two Cultures

Deokhoon Jun, Venerina Johnston, Steven M. McPhail, Shaun O’Leary

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Objective To identify risk factors for the development of interfering neck pain in office workers including an examination of the interaction effects between potential risk factors. Background The 1-year incidence of neck pain in office workers is reported as the highest of all occupations. Identifying risk factors for the development of neck pain in office workers is therefore a priority to direct prevention strategies. Methods Participants included 214 office workers without neck pain from two cultures. A battery of measures evaluating potential individual and workplace risk factors were administered at baseline, and the incidence of interfering neck pain assessed monthly for 12 months. Survival analysis was used to identify relationships between risk factors and the development of interfering neck pain. Results One-year incidence was 1.93 (95% CI [1.41, 2.64]) per 100 person months. Factors increasing the risk of developing interfering neck pain were older age, female gender, increased sitting hours, higher job strain, and stress. A neutral thorax sitting posture, greater cervical range of motion and muscle endurance, and higher physical activity were associated with a decreased risk of neck pain. The effects of some risk factors on the development of neck pain were moderated by the workers’ coping resources. Conclusion Multiple risk factors and interactions may explain the development of neck pain in office workers. Therefore, plans for preventing the development of interfering neck pain in office workers should consider multiple individual and work-related factors with some factors being potentially more modifiable than others.