The Factors Associated With Neck Pain and Its Related Disability in the Saskatchewan Population

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 May 1;25(9):1109-17. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200005010-00012.


Study design: Population-based, cross-sectional mailed survey.

Objective: To identify factors associated with neck pain and its related disability in Saskatchewan adults.

Summary of background information: Little is known about the etiology of neck pain and its related disability. Previous cross-sectional population-based studies have suggested that neck pain may be associated with age, female gender, lower socioeconomic status, physically demanding work, and other comorbidities.

Methods: The Saskatchewan Health and Back Pain Survey was mailed to 2184 randomly selected Saskatchewan adults 20 to 69 years of age. Fifty-five percent of the study population participated. The survey collected demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related information. Neck pain and its related disability was classified into four categories using the Chronic Pain Questionnaire: no neck pain (Grade 0), low intensity/low disability neck pain (Grade I), high intensity/low disability neck pain (Grade II), and high disability neck pain (Grades III-IV). Polytomous logistic regression was used to identify associations between demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related variables and various grades of neck pain severity.

Results: Of the 1131 respondents, 54% had experienced neck pain at some point in the 6 months before the survey, and almost 5% were highly disabled by neck pain. The prevalence of Grade I neck pain was lower in individuals with low education attainment, but higher for those reporting headaches, low back pain, better general health, and a history of neck injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision, some of whom may have received compensation for their injury. Grade II neck pain was strongly associated with headache, low back pain, and a history of neck injury during a motor vehicle collision and weakly associated with digestive disorders and current cigarette smoking. Grades III-IV neck pain was strongly associated with low back pain, headaches, cardiovascular disorders, digestive disorders, and a history of neck injury during a motor vehicle collision.

Conclusion: This study suggests that important associations exist between comorbidities, a past history of neck injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision, and graded neck pain. Importantly, individuals who are significantly disabled by neck pain also have comorbidities that have a moderate or severe impact on their health, suggesting that chronic disorders tend to cluster in some individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Digestive System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / complications
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Saskatchewan / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors