The influence on seeking care because of neck and shoulder disorders from work-related exposures

Epidemiology. 2001 Sep;12(5):537-45. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200109000-00013.


The aim of this study was to assess the influence of work-related physical and psychosocial factors on seeking care for neck or shoulder disorders among men and women in a general working population. The study population comprised gainfully employed (>17 hours per week) men and women in the municipality of Norrtälje, altogether 392 cases and 1,511 controls. Cases were defined as persons seeking care because of neck or shoulder disorders by any caregiver in the region. The study began in 1994 and continued to 1997. We assessed physical and psychosocial exposures by questionnaires and interviews. The pattern of seeking care for neck or shoulder disorders differed between men and women. Among men, work with vibrating tools [relative risk (RR) = 1.6], not having a fixed salary (RR = 1.9), and low demands in relation to competence (RR = 1.5) were the strongest risk indicators obtained in analyses stratified for age and previous symptoms. Among women, repetitive hand or finger movements (RR = 1.6), constrained sitting (RR = 1.6), not having a fixed salary (RR = 2.0), and solitary work (RR = 1.8) were the strongest risk indicators. A large proportion of the general population was exposed to several of these moderately harmful conditions, and their concomitant effect may explain the high incidence of neck and shoulder disorders in the general working population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / etiology*
  • Occupations*
  • Psychology
  • Risk
  • Sex Distribution
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden