Factors associated with headache and neck pain among telecommuters - a five days follow-up

BMC Public Health. 2021 Jun 6;21(1):1086. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11144-6.

Abstract

Background: The current sanitary crisis brought on by the COVID-19 recently forced a large proportion of workers to adopt telecommuting with limited time to plan transition. Given that several work-related risk factors are associated with headache and neck pain, it seems important to determine those associated with headache and neck pain in telecommuters. The main objective of this study was to identify which telecommuting and individual associated factors are related with headache and neck pain occurrence in telecommuters over a five days follow-up. The second objective was to evaluate the impact of wearing a headset on headache and neck pain intensity in telecommuters.

Methods: One hundred and sixty-two participants in telecommuting situation were recruited. Baseline assessment included sociodemographic data, headache and neck pain-related disability (6-item Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) and Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire (NBQ)), headache and neck pain frequency and intensity as well as questions about the wearing of a headset (headset wearing, headset type and headset wearing hours). A prospective data collection of headache, neck pain and headset wearing was conducted using daily e-mail over a 5-day follow-up. A stepwise multivariate regression model was performed to determine associated factors of headache or neck pain occurrence during the follow-up. A t-test was conducted to assess the impact of headset wearing on headache and neck pain intensity during the follow-up.

Results: Regarding headache, the stepwise multivariate regression model showed that the HIT-6 score was associated with future headache occurrence in telecommuters (OR (95% CI) = 1.094 (1.042-1.148); R2 = 0.094; p < 0.001). For neck pain, the stepwise multivariate regression showed that the NBQ score was related to future neck pain occurrence in telecommuters (OR (95% CI) = 1.182 (1.102-1.269); R2 = 0.182; p < 0.001). T-test showed no difference between participants that wore a headset and participant that did not wore a headset on mean headache (p = 0.94) and neck pain (p = 0.56) intensity during the five days follow-up.

Conclusion: Although several work-related risk factors are associated with headache and neck pain in workers, telecommuting did not present the same risks. Working set-up did not have a significant impact on headache and neck pain as headache-related disability was the only associated factor of future headache episodes and neck-pain related disability was the only associated factor of future neck pain episodes. Also, wearing a headset had no impact on headache and neck pain in telecommuters.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disability; Headache; Headset; Neck pain; Physical health; Telecommuting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neck Pain* / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain* / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2