Saf Health Work.  2017 Dec;8(4):356-363. 10.1016/

A Lower Level of Physically Demanding Work Is Associated with Excellent Work Ability in Men and Women with Neck Pain in Different Age Groups

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to investigate which physical and psychosocial work demands were associated with excellent work ability in individuals with neck pain, and to investigate age and sex differences in these associations.
The study sample was obtained from the Statistics Sweden cross-sectional Work Environment survey and consisted of workers who reported neck pain after work (N = 3,212).
The findings showed an association between excellent work ability and self-reported low exposure to lifting, twisted work posture, working with hands in shoulder level or higher, and leaning forward without support and combination of exposures containing these work demands. Low exposure to seated work and high demands showed a reversed association. The associations were present mainly among older workers and were generally stronger for men than for women.
This study indicates that a lower level of physically demanding work is an important element to maintain excellent work ability, especially for the older worker with neck pain.


aging workers; Work Ability Index; work demands
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