Prospective, population-based study of occupational movements and postures of the neck as risk factors for cervical disc herniation


OBJECTIVE: We studied the associations between objectively measured occupational neck exposures in a job exposure matrix (JEM) and cervical disc herniation (CDH).

DESIGN: A cohort study of Danish workers who ever held at least one of 29 jobs (eg, dentists, hairdressers, childcare, carpenters) from 1981 to 2016 was formed. Representative whole work-day inclinometric measurements from previous studies using triaxial accelerometers measuring neck angular velocity and posture of the neck were used as exposure in a JEM. Job titles were retrieved from the Danish Occupational Cohort with eXposure data database. The risk of CDH by quintiles of cumulated exposure was assessed by incidence rate ratios (IRR), adjusted for age, sex, calendar-year, previous lumbar disc herniation and educational level, using Poisson regression models.

SETTING: Nationwide Danish registers.

PARTICIPANTS: 852 625 Danish workers within 29 different job-titles.

OUTCOME MEASURES: First diagnosis of CDH was retrieved from the Danish National Patient Register.

RESULTS: We found 14 000 cases of CDH during 20.2 million person-years of follow-up. Increasing levels of neck angular velocity showed a decreasing risk with IRR 0.90 (95% CI 0.86 to 0.95) when the highest level of cumulative exposure (dynamic work) was compared with the lowest (static work). Similar results were found for extension and flexion of the neck, though not statistically significant for extension. Multiple sensitivity analyses did not change the results.

CONCLUSION: In this large register-based study based on a JEM, we found no evidence of an increased risk of CDH with increasing cumulated angular velocity, flexion or extension of the neck. Factors other than occupational dynamic neck movements and bent neck position seem to be important in the development of CDH.

TidsskriftBMJ Paediatrics Open
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)e053999
StatusUdgivet - 28 feb. 2022


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