Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal condition, which causes substantial medical cost. In Korea, prevalence of neck pain in community based population, especially in elderly subjects, has scarcely been reported. We evaluated the prevalence, the severity and the risk factors of neck pain in elderly Korean community residents. Data for neck pain were collected for 1,655 subjects from a rural farming community. The point, 6-months and cumulative lifetime prevalence of neck pain was obtained in addition to the measurement of the severity of neck pain. The mean age of the study subjects was 61 yr and 57% were females. The lifetime prevalence of neck pain was 20.8% with women having a higher prevalence. The prevalence did not increase with age, and the majority of individuals had low-intensity/low-disability pain. Subjects with neck pain had a significantly worse SF-12 score in all domains except for mental health. The prevalence of neck pain was significantly associated with female gender, obesity and smoking. This is the first large-scale Korean study estimating the prevalence of neck pain in elderly population. Although the majority of individuals had low-intensity/low-disability pain, subjects with neck pain had a significantly worse SF-12 score indicating that neck pain has significant health impact.
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