OBJECTIVE: This study describes the course of shoulder and neck complaints in a working population over time. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Questionnaires were administered on neck and shoulder complaints over 3 consecutive years. RESULTS: We observed 12-month incidence rates for neck and shoulder complaints of 16% to 18%, 12-month prevalence rates roughly twice as high, and 12-month recurrence rates approximately twice the prevalence rates. Each year, medical care was sought by 21% to 38% of the subjects with neck or shoulder pain, and 13% to 21% were absent from work. Although at the population level the occurrence of neck and shoulder complaints remained constant, the course of complaints within individuals demonstrated a strong episodic nature of neck and shoulder pain. Results from this study suggest that neck and shoulder complaints for most subjects run a recurrent course characterized by a strong variation in occurrence and a self-limiting course. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that clinical trials should have a sufficiently long follow-up period to demonstrate sustainability of the therapeutic results.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2004.01.022, hdl.handle.net/1765/15643
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Luime, J., Koes, B., Miedema, H., Verhaar, J., & Burdorf, A. (2005). High incidence and recurrence of shoulder and neck pain in nursing home employees was demonstrated during a 2-year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58(4), 407–413. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2004.01.022