Prevalence and factors associated with neck pain: a population-based study

Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Jul-Aug;21(4):274-280. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 May 20.


Background: Neck pain is a musculoskeletal condition with high prevalence that may affect the physical, social, and psychological aspects of the individual, contributing to the increase in costs in society and business.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of neck pain and associated factors in a population-based sample of adults aged 20 and more.

Methods: Cross-sectional study based on a population survey. A total number of 600 individuals were interviewed in their homes, and the following data were collected: (1) participant characteristics (demographic, socioeconomic, and work-related aspects) using a pre-coded questionnaire; (2) physical activity level using the IPAQ; and (3) musculoskeletal symptoms using the Nordic questionnaire. Descriptive, bivariate, and Poisson regression analyses were performed.

Results: The prevalence of neck pain was 20.3% (95% CI 17.3-23.7). The adjusted analyses showed that individuals who were widowers or separated (PR=2.26; 1.42-5.88), had a low income (PR=1.32; 1.22-6.27) or low educational level (PR=1.83; 1.02-5.26), worked while sitting and leaning (PR=1.55; 1.08-2.40), and who reported having two or more diseases (PR=1.71; 1.55-6.31) remained associated with neck pain.

Conclusion: This study reveals the high prevalence of neck pain and remarkable association with widowed/separated people who have low income and low educational level, who perform their occupational activities in sitting and leaning positions, and who reported having two or more diseases. Knowledge of these risk factors will contribute to the development of forms of assistance in which neck pain can be prevented and better managed.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Neck pain; Physical therapy; Risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neck Pain*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires