Article Text

other Versions

Original Article
Long-term prognosis for neck-shoulder pain and disorders: a 14-year follow-up study
  1. Emma Lise Thorlund Jakobsen1,
  2. Karin Biering1,
  3. Anette Kærgaard1,
  4. Annett Dalbøge1,2,
  5. Johan Hviid Andersen1
  1. 1Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Regional Hospital West Jutland, University Research Clinic, Herning, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Ms. Emma Lise Thorlund Jakobsen, Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Regional Hospital West Jutland – University Research Clinic, Gl. Landevej 61, 7400, Herning, Denmark; emmalise.jakobsen{at}


Objectives The long-term prognosis for neck-shoulder pain and disorders and the impact of shoulder exposure among former sewing machine operators were investigated in a 14-year follow-up study.

Methods Information on neck-shoulder pain and disorders was collected by questionnaire and clinical examination at baseline in 243 female sewing machine operators and by questionnaire 14 years later. During follow-up, information on comorbidity and job exposures was obtained from registers and by linking register-based D-ISCO 88 codes with a job exposure matrix. Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations between neck-shoulder pain and disorders at baseline and neck-shoulder pain and physical functioning at follow-up.

Results We found an association between neck-shoulder disorders at baseline and neck-shoulder pain at follow-up (OR 5.9;95% CI 1.9 to 17.7), and between neck-shoulder pain at baseline and neck-shoulder pain at follow-up (OR 8.2;95% CI 3.5 to 19.2). Associations between neck-shoulder disorders and pain at baseline and limited physical functioning at follow-up had ORs of 5.0 (95% CI 1.5 to 16.1) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 4.6), respectively. In women still working in 2008, the association between neck-shoulder pain in 1994 and in 2008 seemed to be stronger for those in jobs with high job shoulder exposure.

Conclusions The results suggest a long-term adverse prognosis for neck-shoulder pain. High job shoulder exposure can worsen this prognosis for those who continue working. This knowledge could influence the counselling given to similar workers and emphasises the need to prevent neck-shoulder pain.

  • job exposure
  • long-term
  • musculoskeletal pain

Statistics from


  • Contributors AK and JHA were responsible for collection of baseline data. The study was mainly performed by ELTJ. AD introduced for the job exposure matrix. All authors revised and approved the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by The Danish Working Environment Research Fund, (project no. 02-2015-09 20150067117).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by Danish Data Protection Agency (j. no. 2007-58-0010). All data were collected before the present study was initiated, and studies based on register information do not need approval from the Committee System on Biomedical Research Ethics in Denmark.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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.