Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Different working and living conditions and their associations with persistent neck/shoulder and/or low back disorders
  1. Ola Leijon1,
  2. Per Lindberg2,
  3. Malin Josephson3,
  4. Christina Wiktorin1
  1. 1Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Section of Personal Injury Prevention, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr O Leijon
 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Stockholm Centre for Public Health, Norrbacka, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden;ola.leijon{at}


Objectives: To investigate whether different combinations of working and living conditions are associated with the risk for persistent neck/shoulder and/or low back disorders. The underlying purpose of this contextual approach was to identify target groups for primary/secondary prevention.

Methods: In a baseline study, 11 groups with different working and living conditions were identified by cluster analysis. In this study, these 11 groups were followed up by a postal questionnaire 5 years after baseline (response rate 82%, n = 1095).

Results: Five of the groups—the onerous human services job, the free agent, the family burden, the mentally stretched and the physically strained groups—had an increased risk for persistent disorders (OR 2.38–2.70). Four of these groups had rather sex-specific working and living conditions.

Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that different combinations of working and living conditions may increase the risk for persistent neck/shoulder and/or low back disorders to different degrees. Sex-specific working and living conditions increased the risk for women as well as for men, irrespective of whether the conditions were specific to women or men.

  • MSDs, musculoskeletal disorders
  • MUSIC, Musculoskeletal Intervention Center
  • VDU, video display unit

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Published Online First 16 October 2006

  • Funding: Financial support for the MUSIC-Norrtälje Study was provided by grants from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research and the Stockholm County Council.

  • Competing interests: None declared.