Neck pain

Neck pain is a common complaint resulting from disorders of any muscles, nerves and bones in the neck. The pain can be work-related (e.g. due to neck muscles that are strained due to poor work postures such as hunching over a computer or work bench) and non-work-related (e.g. due to a driving accident in which a car is rear-ended, resulting in whiplash). IWH research seeks to determine the work-related risk factors for neck pain, how many workers report it, and how to best treat it to ensure a safe and timely recovery and return to work.

Japanese craftsperson stands in front of his workstation, smiling
Sharing Best Evidence

What workplace interventions help workers with MSDs, pain and mental health conditions return to work?

This update of a previous systematic review sets out to find workplace-based interventions that are effective in helping workers with musculoskeletal, pain-related and/or mental health conditions return to work.
Published: December 2019
Man in white t-shirt holds neck
Research Highlights

Work absenteeism and recurrent neck pain

A small but important minority—14 per cent—of injured workers experience recurrent neck pain, accounting for 40 per cent of all lost-time days due to neck pain, according to a study of claims made to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Published: January 2011
Research Highlights
Research Highlights

Five non-surgical neck pain treatments work equally well

A study of five non-surgical treatments for neck pain — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Cox-2 inhibiting NSAIDs, exercise, mobilization, and manipulation — found no one treatment option for neck pain was found to be clearly superior when both benefits and harms were considered.
Published: November 2008
At Work article
At Work article

International task force reports on neck pain

Read about some of the findings from the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders.
Published: February 2008
Research Highlights
Research Highlights

Which factors put workers at risk for neck pain?

Neck pain in workers results from a number of individual and workplace factors. This review examines the role of age, physical fitness, work demands, job insecurity, among others.
Published: January 2008
Research Highlights
Research Highlights

Neck pain common among adults, review shows

The first review summarizing studies about the impact and causes of neck pain in the general population finds it a common condition. Risk factors include age, gender and genetics, as well as smoking, exposure to tobacco, and psychological health.
Published: January 2008
Research Highlights
Research Highlights

For many, whiplash recovery is prolonged

Nearly half of those diagnosed with whiplash-associated disorders reported neck pain symptoms one year after their injury. Those with more severe initial symptoms faced even slower recovery, according to a study.
Published: January 2008