A Swedish study conducted among men and women has found that women more than men reported problems of neck pain irrespective of their occupation range.
"We know that physical work with heavy lifting or assembly work that involves a lot of arm-raising above shoulder height can lead to neck pain," said Anna Grimby-Ekman, postdoctoral student and statistician at the Sahlgrenska Academy's Department of Public Health and Community Medicine.
"By looking at a group whose work is less physically demanding, we can more readily identify other factors that could be implicated and perhaps explain the generally high incidence of neck pain," she added.
A questionnaire distributed to university students in Sweden - 627 women and 573 men - showed that neck pain is more common in women than men.
Women reported more neck and upper back pain across the range of occupations covered. It was evident in both the computer users and the students that neck pain is affected by psychosocial factors, including the demands of work/studying.
"Perceived stress was more common among the women students than the men, and appeared to play more of a role in the development of neck pain in young women than in men," said Grimby-Ekman.
The studies also indicate that when it comes to young men there may be other factors behind the huge variations in the incidence of neck pain over time.