Work-related risk factors for neck pain in the US working population

Haiou Yang, Scott Haldeman, Akinori Nakata, Bongkyoo Choi, Linda Delp, Dean Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Study Design: This study uses the Taylor linearized variance estimation method to compute weighted unadjusted and adjusted prevalence of neck pain by occupation, with a cross-section data set from the 2009 to 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Objective: The goal of this study was to explore occupational patterns of neck pain and the relationship between long work hours and neck pain in the working population in the United States. Summary of Background Data: The past research has demonstrated that specific occupations have a high prevalence of neck pain. However, occupational patterns of neck pain in the United States have been understudied. Methods: Risk of neck pain was estimated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression with odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence interval (CI) as measures of association. Results: After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic status, and behavior-related factors and compared with workers in architecture and engineering occupation group, the top 5 occupational groups with significantly higher relative prevalence of neck pain included: military specific (OR, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.17-5.35); arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.34-2.17); life, physical, and social science (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.33-2.11); health care support (OR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.23-1.97); and installation, maintenance, and repair (OR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.21-1.96). Compared with those who worked 40 hours, people who worked 46 to 59 hours (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.10-1.30) and 60 or more hours of work per week (OR, 1.35; 95% CI-1.21, 1.51) were more likely to report neck pain. Conclusion: This study adds to the evidence that an individual's occupation and work hours affect workers' risk for neck pain. This study indicates a need for new research efforts and public policies targeted to workers who are susceptible to neck pain in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Hours of work
  • Neck pain
  • Occupation
  • Population-based study
  • Sex
  • Stress


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