Data on the occurrence of neck and shoulder symptoms and some qualities of work and leisure-time activities were gathered with a postal questionnaire sent to 1,174 machine operators, 1,045 carpenters, and 1,013 office workers. They were all men in the age range of 25-49 years. The response rate was 67-76%. The lifetime cumulative incidence of neck and shoulder symptoms was 81% for the machine operators, 73% for the carpenters, and 57% for the office workers. About half of the two groups of manual workers and 24% of the office workers had had symptoms during the last 7 d. Pain in the arms was indicated by 14-17% of the manual workers and 4% of the office workers. Symptoms during more than 30 d within the last 12 months were also more common among the manual workers than among the office workers. Within the manual worker groups, the machine operators had more symptoms than the carpenters. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis occupation, working in twisted or bent postures, age, draft, and job satisfaction proved to be significant risk indicators for neck and shoulder symptoms.