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The global burden of neck pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study
  1. Damian Hoy1,
  2. Lyn March2,
  3. Anthony Woolf3,
  4. Fiona Blyth4,
  5. Peter Brooks5,
  6. Emma Smith6,
  7. Theo Vos7,
  8. Jan Barendregt8,
  9. Jed Blore9,
  10. Chris Murray10,
  11. Roy Burstein10,
  12. Rachelle Buchbinder11,12
  1. 1University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, University of Sydney Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Department of Rheumatology, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, UK
  4. 4School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5Australian Health Workforce Institute, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Northern Clinical School, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7University of Queensland, School of Population Health, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  8. 8School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  9. 9Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  10. 10Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  11. 11Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  12. 12Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Institute and Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Damian Hoy, University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Herston Rd, Herston, QLD 4006 Australia; damehoy{at}yahoo.com.au

Abstract

Objective To estimate the global burden of neck pain.

Methods Neck pain was defined as pain in the neck with or without pain referred into one or both upper limbs that lasts for at least 1 day. Systematic reviews were performed of the prevalence, incidence, remission, duration and mortality risk of neck pain. Four levels of severity were identified for neck pain with and without arm pain, each with their own disability weights. A Bayesian meta-regression method was used to pool prevalence and derive missing age/sex/region/year values. The disability weights were applied to prevalence values to derive the overall disability of neck pain expressed as years lived with disability (YLDs). YLDs have the same value as disability-adjusted life years as there is no evidence of mortality associated with neck pain.

Results The global point prevalence of neck pain was 4.9% (95% CI 4.6 to 5.3). Disability-adjusted life years increased from 23.9 million (95% CI 16.5 to 33.1) in 1990 to 33.6 million (95% CI 23.5 to 46.5) in 2010. Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability as measured by YLDs, and 21st in terms of overall burden.

Conclusions Neck pain is a common condition that causes substantial disability. With aging global populations, further research is urgently needed to better understand the predictors and clinical course of neck pain, as well as the ways in which neck pain can be prevented and better managed.

  • Outcomes research
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services research

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