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Broadgate spine & joint clinic news

by Alan Jordan

Neck pain – often spreading to the upper shoulder area – is the most common presenting complaint that we see at the Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic. Most of us are of the opinion that this is due to City workers having to work long hours in constrained postures in rather stressful environments. In order to inform readers as to what the literature has concluded, I have written the article below to highlight what factors have been determined to be scientifically proven factors regarding the development of neck pain.

In a large study involving 7,669 adults who were observed for a year in south Manchester, results showed that females were more likely to develop neck pain but that age played no role. Almost 20% of subjects – who were not experiencing neck pain at the beginning of the study – developed pain during the course of the year. Subjects who had experienced neck pain previously were far more likely to develop neck pain during the follow-up 12-month period. Other factors that were identified included number of children, poor self-assessed health, poor psychological status and a past history of low back pain.

In a review of all of the literature published regarding psychosocial factors and the risk of developing neck pain, Geertje et al found that there was evidence regarding the development of neck pain for individuals with high quantitative job demands (such as repetitive tasks), low social co-worker support, low job satisfaction, conflicts at work, and so forth.

In another systematic review, the authors found evidence for a positive relationship between neck pain and the duration of sitting and twisting or bending of the trunk. Forward bending of the neck, consistent arm force, arm posture, duration of sitting, twisting or bending of the trunk, hand-arm vibration, and workplace design were all found to be of significance.

It is clear, therefore, that there are both physical and medical, as well as psychosocial (stress etc.) factors that can contribute to the development of neck pain. Neck pain is usually benign and self-limiting. If, however, it persists, it should be examined by a medical professional in order to rule out any underlying disease and to provide a treatment strategy in order to address it in the most effective and time efficient manner.

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