ArticleRisk factors for neck pain: a longitudinal study in the general populationCroft, Peter R.a,*; Lewis, Martyna; Papageorgiou, Ann C.b; Thomas, Elainea; Jayson, Malcolm I.V.c; Macfarlane, Gary J.d; Silman, Alan J.b Author Information aPrimary Care Sciences Research Centre, University of Keele, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK bARC Epidemiology Research Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK cRheumatic Diseases Centre, Hope Hospital, Manchester, UK dUnit of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, The Medical School, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK *Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-1782-583920; fax: +44-1782-583911 E-mail: [email protected] Submitted October 17, 2000; revised March 14, 2001; accepted May 2, 2001. Pain: September 2001 - Volume 93 - Issue 3 - p 317-325 doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(01)00334-7 Buy Metrics Abstract The objective of the study was to examine the 1-year cumulative incidence of episodic neck pain and to explore its associations with individual risk factors, including a history of previous neck injury. A baseline cross-sectional survey of an adult general population sample made up of all 7669 adults aged 18–75 years, registered with two family practices in South Manchester, United Kingdom, identified the study population of adults with no current neck pain. This study population was surveyed again 12 months later to identify all those who had experienced neck pain during the follow-up period. At follow-up, cumulative 1-year episode incidence of neck pain was estimated at 17.9% (95% confidence interval 16.0–19.7%). Incidence was independent of age, but was more common in women. A history of previous neck injury at baseline was a significant risk factor for subsequent neck pain in the follow-up year (risk ratio 1.7, 95% confidence interval 1.2–2.5), independent of gender and psychological status. Other independent baseline risk factors for subsequent neck pain included number of children, poor self-assessed health, poor psychological status and a past history of low back pain. We have carried out a prospective study in a general population sample and demonstrated that established risk factors for chronic pain predict future episodes of neck pain, and shown that in addition a history of neck injury is an independent and distinct risk factor. This finding may have major public health and medicolegal implications. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.