Study design: A longitudinal epidemiologic study conducted over 12 months among active workers in different occupations. The study was primarily designed to evaluate intervention for prevention of low back and other spinal disorders.
Objective: To determine factors that predict incidence, recurrence, and persistence of neck disorders (ND), taking into account various dimensions of ND.
Summary of background data: Neck pain is often supposed to have essentially the same risk factors as back pain; however, there is comparatively little data relevant to this issue. Moreover, there is a lack of prospective studies that take into account a diversity of predictive factors.
Methods: The Nordic questionnaire for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms was completed twice at a 12-month interval by 568 workers. Predictive factors were studied with logistic models for four dimensions of ND from the second questionnaire: 1) any ND in the past 6 months; 2) ND for more than 30 days; 3) treatment for ND; and 4) visit to a health care professional for ND. The predictive factors were obtained from the first questionnaire and included gender, age, occupational group, level of psychological distress and psychosomatic problems, and ND at baseline.
Results: Female gender and older age were predictors of ND. Headaches or pain in the head, psychological distress, and psychosomatic problems were predictors for all dimensions of ND. These effects were observed for both incidence and persistence of ND.
Conclusions: The results emphasize the role of psychosomatic and psychological factors in the occurrence and course of ND for various dimensions of the disorder.