Objective: This study aimed to investigate the causal relationship between daily walking steps and the 1-year incidence of neck and low back pain in workers with sedentary jobs.
Methods: A 1-year prospective study was carried out among 387 workers who reported no spinal symptoms in the previous 3 months with pain intensity greater than 30 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale. Data were gathered using a self-administered questionnaire, physical examination, and pedometer. Follow-up data were collected every month for the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and every 3 months for daily walking steps. Two regression models were built to analyze the effect of daily walking steps on the 1-year incidence of neck and low back pain.
Results: Among 367 (95 %) participants followed for 1 year, 16 and 14 % reported incident neck and low back pain, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, a negative association between daily walking steps and onset of neck pain was found. Increasing daily walking steps by 1,000 reduced the risk of neck pain by 14 %. No significant association between daily walking steps and the onset of low back pain was found.
Conclusions: Increasing daily walking steps is a protective factor for onset of neck pain in those with sedentary jobs. Interventions to reduce neck pain should include attempts to increase daily walking steps.