Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2018;44(1):47-57    pdf full text


Time course of neck-shoulder pain among workers: A longitudinal latent class growth analysis

by Hallman DM, Rasmussen CDN, Jørgensen MB, Holtermann A

Objectives The aims of this study were to (i) identify trajectories of neck-shoulder pain (NSP) over one year in an occupational population and (ii) determine whether these trajectories are predicted by NSP characteristics as well as personal and occupational factors at baseline.

Methods This longitudinal study was conducted among Danish workers (N=748) from 2012–2014. Text messages were used to collect frequent data on NSP over one year (14 waves in total). Peak NSP intensity in the past month was rated on a 0–10 numeric scale. A baseline questionnaire covered NSP characteristics (pain intensity, duration, comorbidity, pain medication, and pain interference) as well as personal (age, gender, body mass index) and occupational (seniority, work type, physical strain at work) factors. Latent class growth analysis was used to distinguish trajectories of NSP. Multivariate regression models with odds ratios (OR) were constructed to predict trajectories of NSP.

Results Six distinct trajectories of NSP were identified (asymptomatic 11%, very low NSP 10%, low recovering NSP 18%, moderate recovering NSP 28%, strong fluctuating NSP 24% and severe persistent NSP 9% of the workers). Female gender, age, physical strain at work, NSP intensity and duration, pain medication, and pain interference in daily work at baseline were positively associated with severe persistent NSP and strong fluctuating NSP (all P<0.05). Altogether, personal and occupational factors accounted for 14% of the variance, while NSP characteristics accounted for 54%.

Conclusions In an occupational sample, six distinct trajectories of NSP were identified. Physical strain at work appears to be a pertinent occupational factor predicting strong fluctuating and severe persistent NSP.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2006;32(4):294-299  2016;42(2):125-134  2016;42(6):520-527
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