The purpose of this study was to systematically review prospective cohort studies to gain insights into risk factors for the development of non-specific neck pain in office workers as well as to assess the strength of evidence. Publications were systematically searched from 1980 - March 2011 in several databases. The following key words were used: neck pain paired with risk or prognostic factors and office or computer or visual display unit or visual display terminal. Relevant studies were retrieved and assessed for methodological quality by two independent reviewers. The strength of the evidence was based on methodological quality and consistency of the results. Five high-quality and two low-quality prospective cohort studies investigating the predictive value of 47 individual, work-related physical and work-related psychosocial factors for the onset of non-specific neck pain in office workers were included in this review. Strong evidence was found for female gender and previous history of neck complaints to be predictors of the onset of neck pain. Interestingly, for a large number of factors that have been mentioned in the literature as risk factors for neck pain, such as high physical leisure activity, low social support, and high psychosocial stress, we found no predictive value for future neck pain in office workers. Literature with respect to the development of non-specific neck pain in office workers is scant. Only female gender and previous history of neck complaints have been identified as risk factors that predict the onset of neck pain.
- Visual display unit
- neck pain
- systematic review
- health promotion
- exposure assessment
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Funding This work was funded by Chulalongkorn University Centenary Academic Development Project (12) and Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.