A prospective study on the effects of occupational and individual factors on neck trouble was carried out among 1832 men representing static work with whole-body vibration (machine operators), dynamic physical work (construction carpenters) and sedentary work (office workers). Neck trouble and occupational and individual factors were inquired about via postal questionnaires in 1984 and 1987. Machine operating was associated with an increased risk to contract severe neck trouble, and machine operating and dynamic physical work were associated with persistently severe neck trouble. Other predictors for contracting severe neck trouble were age and current smoking. Physical exercise decreased the risk of persistently severe neck trouble. The results of our prospective study confirm the role of physical factors in neck trouble.