420 medical secretaries took part in a cross-sectional study at examining the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders as well as the relationship between neck and shoulder pain and possible risk factors. Sixty-three percent had experienced neck pain sometime during the previous year and while 15% had suffered almost constant pain 32% had experienced neck pain only occasionally. Shoulder pain during the previous year had been experienced by 62%, 17% had suffered almost constant pain while 29% experienced pain only occasionally. Fifty-one percent had experienced low back pain. Age and length of employment were significantly related to neck and shoulder pain. Furthermore, working with office machines 5 hours or more per day was associated with a significantly increased risk for neck pain (OR 1.7), shoulder pain (OR 1.9) and headache (OR 1.8). Finally, a poorly experienced psychosocial work environment was significantly related to headache, neck, shoulder and low back pain. The results of this study suggest that work with office machines as well as the psychosocial work environment are important factors in neck and shoulder pain.