Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop a neck pain risk score for office workers (NROW) to identify office workers at risk for developing nonspecific neck pain with disability.
Methods: A 1-year prospective cohort study of 559 healthy office workers was conducted. At baseline, risk factors were assessed using questionnaires and standardized physical examination. The incidence of neck pain was collected every month thereafter. Disability level was evaluated using the neck disability index. Logistic regression was used to select significant factors to build a risk score. The coefficients from the logistic regression model were transformed into the components of a risk score.
Results: Among 535 (96%) participants who were followed up for 1 year, 23% reported incident neck pain with disability (≥5). After adjusting for confounders, the onset of neck pain with disability was significantly associated with history of neck pain, chair adjustability, and perceived muscular tension. Thus, the NROW comprises 3 questions about history of neck pain, chair adjustability, and perceived muscular tension. The NROW had scores ranging from 0 to 4. A cut-off score of at least 2 had a sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 48%. The positive and negative predictive values were 29% and 91%, respectively. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.75.
Conclusion: The risk score for nonspecific neck pain with disability in office workers was developed, and it contained 3 items with scores ranging from 0 to 4. This study shows that the score appears to have reasonable sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive values for the cut-off point of at least 2.
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