Work-related risk factors for the incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck complaints among nursing-home and elderly-care workers

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2004 Aug;30(4):279-86. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.795.


Objectives: This study assessed the differences and similarities in the incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck complaints with respect to work-related physical, psychosocial, and personal risk factors.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was carried out among 769 workers of nursing homes and homes for the elderly. At baseline, a questionnaire was used to collect data on personal characteristics, physical workload, psychosocial workload, and the presence of shoulder and neck complaints. After 1 and 2 years, follow-up data were collected on shoulder and neck complaints. Generalized estimation equations were used for analyzing risk factors for the participants with at least one follow-up measurement available (N=556, 72%).

Results: In the multivariate model, adjusted for age and gender, obesity [odds ratio (OR) 2.12, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.23-3.65] was related to the incidence of shoulder complaints. The incidence of neck complaints was increased for obesity (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.07-3.05), work in awkward postures (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.11-2.78), and poor or fair general health (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.02-2.31). The recurrence of both shoulder and neck complaints was associated with chronic complaints at baseline (shoulder: OR 1.91, 95% 1.36-2.67; neck: OR 1.71, 95% 1.14-2.55) but not with work-related risk factors.

Conclusions: The results suggest that there are differences in risk factors for the incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck complaints.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Recurrence
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires