Longitudinal study and factors associated with neck/shoulder pain

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Longitudinal study and factors associated with neck/shoulder pain

Most people experience neck/shoulder pain at some point in life. The annual prevalence of neck pain has been reported to range from 27% in Norway to 34% in the UK and 48% in Canada. For shoulder complaints, a systematic review from 2004 showed a range of 7%–26% for point prevalence and 7%–67% for 12 months prevalence. A study was conducted to investigate the ability of work-related measurements, body composition, physical activity, and fitness levels to predict neck/shoulder pain (upper body pain, UBP) at the age of 52 years.

Also, the cross-sectional relationships between UBP, work-related factors and individual factors at the age of 52 years were also included in the study which were to be investigated.

In the conducted study, 429 adolescents that were recruited in 1974 (baseline), when they were 16 years old were selected randomly. Selected participants completed the physical fitness tests, questions about socio demographic and lifestyle factors at 16, 34 and 52 years of age and questions about work-related factors and pain in the follow-ups. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between UBP and the other variables.

After the analysis, univariate analysis showed that high body mass index and the work-related factors, low control and low support at the age of 34 years were related to UBP at the age of 52 years. For social support, there was an interaction between men and women where the relationship between low social support and the experience of pain was more evident for women. Body mass index and social support remained significantly related in the multivariate analyses among women. Whereas, for men, social support remained significantly related. Cross-sectional relationships at the age of 52 differed from the longitudinal in the sense that measured of joint flexibility and work posture were also significantly associated with UBP.

Fact was observed that the cross-sectional differed from the longitudinal relationships strengthens the importance of performing longitudinal studies when studying factors that influenced the initiation of pain. UBP preventive measures might need to include both life style (such as dietary habits and physical activity to ensured that the individuals are not becoming overweight) and work-related factors such as social support.

Journal of Pain Research
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