This study followed 484 Swedish citizens for 24 years, and examined the various factors that were related to chronic neck and upper limb disorders.
The researchers identified the following as risk factors: "Among women overtime work, high mental workload, and unsatisfactory leisure time were associated with disorders in the neck-shoulder region. Interaction was found between high mental workload and unsatisfactory leisure time. Neck symptoms earlier in life were associated with recurrent disorders. Hand and wrist disorders were associated with mainly with physical demands at work. Among men, blue collar work and a simultaneous presence of high mental workload predicted disorders in the neck-should region."
The authors of the study were most concerned with the finding that even mild neck symptoms earlier in life are a significant predictor of long-term pain in women.Fredriksson K, Alfredsson L, Köster M, et al. Risk factors for neck and upper limb disorders: results from 24 years of follow up. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 1999;56:59-66.