Neck/shoulder pain and low back pain among school teachers in China, prevalence and risk factors

BMC Public Health. 2012 Sep 14;12:789. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-789.


Background: School teachers represent an occupational group among which there appears to be a high prevalence of neck and/or shoulder pain (NSP) and low back pain (LBP). Epidemiological data on NSP and LBP in Chinese teachers are limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of and risk factors for NSP and LBP among primary, secondary and high school teachers.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study of teachers from 7 schools, information on participant demographics, work characteristics, occupational factors and musculoskeletal symptoms and pain were collected.

Results: Among 893 teachers, the prevalence of NSP and LBP was 48.7% and 45.6% respectively. There was significant association between the level and prevalence of NSP and LBP among teachers in different schools. The prevalence of NSP among female teachers was much higher than that for males. Self-reported NSP was associated with physical exercise (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.86), prolonged standing (1.74, 1.03 to 2.95), sitting (1.76, 1.23 to 2.52) and static posture (2.25, 1.56 to 3.24), and uncomfortable back support (1.77, 1.23 to 2.55). LBP was more consistently associated with twisting posture (1.93, 1.30 to 2.87), uncomfortable back support (1.62, 1.13 to 2.32) and prolonged sitting (1.42, 1.00 to 2.02) and static posture (1.60, 1.11 to 2.31).

Conclusions: NSP and LBP are common among teachers. There were strong associations with different individual, ergonomic, and occupational factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult