High incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck pain in nursing home employees was demonstrated during a 2-year follow-up

J Clin Epidemiol. 2005 Apr;58(4):407-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2004.01.022.


Objective: This study describes the course of shoulder and neck complaints in a working population over time.

Study design and setting: Questionnaires were administered on neck and shoulder complaints over 3 consecutive years.

Results: We observed 12-month incidence rates for neck and shoulder complaints of 16% to 18%, 12-month prevalence rates roughly twice as high, and 12-month recurrence rates approximately twice the prevalence rates. Each year, medical care was sought by 21% to 38% of the subjects with neck or shoulder pain, and 13% to 21% were absent from work. Although at the population level the occurrence of neck and shoulder complaints remained constant, the course of complaints within individuals demonstrated a strong episodic nature of neck and shoulder pain. Results from this study suggest that neck and shoulder complaints for most subjects run a recurrent course characterized by a strong variation in occurrence and a self-limiting course.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that clinical trials should have a sufficiently long follow-up period to demonstrate sustainability of the therapeutic results.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology