According to a new Australian study, research has shown that female workers are 3x more likely to suffer from neck pain than their male counterparts. This study examined what factors where important in determining who got neck pain and didn’t.
The Study was published in the European Spine Journal and conducted by Dr. Julia Hush of the Back Pain Research Group at the University of Sydney
According to Dr. Hush, "Neck pain is certainly one of the big problems in an occupational setting. It can impact on the ability to do day-to-day activities and has a substantial cost for not only the individual, but also society."
Hush says that between 15 to 44% of people suffer pain in any one year, but recent studies suggest that office-workers are at higher risk of neck pain than others.
They followed 53 office workers at the University of Sydney over a year, and used questionnaires to find out who developed neck pain and why.
"Almost 50% of people in this cohort, who to start with had no neck pain, developed an episode of neck pain over a period of one year," says Hush.
While the majority of people recovered within a couple of weeks, about 12% suffered longer term, and some even took time off work.
Gender and stress risk factors Hush and colleagues found that women were around three times more likely to develop neck pain during the year than men.
People who suffered high levels of personal psychological stress were over one and a half times more likely to suffer neck pain than others, says Hush.
On the protective side, the researchers found those who exercised three times a week or more were less likely to suffer neck pain, as were those whose neck was more flexible.
"The incidence of neck pain is very high," says Hush.
"Female gender and high psychological stress can increase the risk of developing neck pain, but if you have greater mobility of your neck and if you exercise more, you might reduce the risk of developing neck pain."
She is not sure why women are more likely to suffer neck pain, but it could be because they hold more tension in their muscles as they work.
Hush says the study also found women were more likely to be suffering from personal psychological stress.
She says the findings suggest neck pain prevention strategies involving exercise and stress reduction could be targeted at women.
Time and time again, we have shown that stress is the cause of so much suffering, including neck pain. Women who are juggling the demands of a job, motherhood, taking care of the family and themselves are not taking care of themselves. This study shows us that neck pain at work, especially for women is real and prevalent. At the Neck Pain Support Blog, we presented a study that shows that exercise can help prevent neck pain.Stress reduction, changing the ergonomics of the workstation, doing neck stretches should also be a prevention strategies, targeted especially at female workers. Dr. Hush findings have helped narrow down some of the most important risk factors in neck pain and will be useful in designing a larger study in the future.
Additional Reading Resources
- Making Your WorkStation Neck Pain Free
- New Job, New Neck Pain at the End of the Day
- The Relationship between Neck Pain and Stress
- Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain Through Physical Exercise
- How to Treat Tight Muscles
- Cervical Exercises to stretch your Neck and Upper Back while at Work
Products that May Help You at Work to Be Pain Free
- Sit Back Rest- Lumbar Support for Your Office Chair
- Hot and Cold Therapy- For Pain Relief
- Posture Corrector- Promotes proper posture in the upper back and middle back areas.
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