Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and Shoulder pain are common among men and women. Younger and younger individuals are suffering with neck and shoulder pain. Preventative measures must be taken. Lumbar and pelvic position should be considered when control of cervical posture is desired to relieve or prevent neck pain. Use of a forward-slanted seat surface has been shown to reduce risk factors for neck and shoulder pain since it helps the sitting individual keep their cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spine aligned while seated. The risk factors for and causes of Neck and Shoulder pain that are outlined in the research are listed. Preventative measures for the development of Neck and Shoulder pain that are outlined in the research are also listed.

How Common is Neck and Shoulder Pain? 

A review of the medical literature from 1966 to 1997 showed that the one-year prevalence for neck and shoulder pain was 29 percent for men and 40 percent for women (1).

Can I Prevent Neck and Shoulder Pain?

It is necessary to take preventative measures.

Ergonomic aspects of the preventative measures should include:

  • Appropriate worker selection with sufficient training and instruction
  • Ergonomic design of workplaces
  • Ergonomic considerations in work organization (2)

Ergonomic Training Should Start Early to Minimize Risk of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain are major problems in modern society.

With the increased use of computers and stationary designed workplaces, younger and younger people are faced with cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the neck and shoulders.

What Does the Research Say about Neck and Shoulder Pain?

The relationship between workplace factors and the development of disorders of the muscles, tendons, and peripheral nerves in the neck, shoulders, and upper limbs has become a subject of growing interest.

These disorders are believed to be a major cause of time lost from work and long-term disability.  Payments for Worker’s Compensation claims for these disorders have risen rapidly (3).

Early neck and shoulder pain may be a predictor of future pain development (4).

There is a growing awareness among occupational health professionals worldwide of the large burden of illness associated with CTDs and MSDs of the neck, shoulders, and upper limbs (5).

What are the Risk Factors for Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Risk factors that could lead to neck and shoulder pain include:

  • Awkward postures
  • Static postures
  • Repetitive forward bending

What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Positive relationships between neck and shoulder pain and the following risk factors have been found:

  • Occupational repetitiveness
  • Arm force, arm posture, and hand/arm vibration
  • Neck flexion
  • Static or sedentary postures
  • Duration of siting
  • Twisting or bending of the trunk
  • Workplace design

How Can I Minimize Risk Factors for Neck and Shoulder Pain?

It has been shown that different sitting postures result in changes in the cervical (neck) spine position. 

Lumbar and pelvic position should be considered when control of cervical posture is desired to relieve or prevent neck pain.

Use a Forward-Slanted Seat or Cushion to Minimize Awkward Postures

To avoid awkward postures, the majority of researchers focus on the advantages of a forward slanted seat. 

For neck pain sufferers, sitting on a forward-slanted seat can be beneficial because:

  • It helps to maintain the curvature of the cervical (neck) spine and the lumbar (low back) spine
  • It minimizes repetitive forward bending

The Buttpillow-Original™️ | The Buttpillow-Ergo™️ 

The Buttpillow-Original™ (with a 4 degree forward slope) and The Buttpillow-Ergo™ (with a 8 degree forward slope) help to maintain the natural curve of the lumbar and cervical spine, which minimizes risk factors that can lead to neck, back, and shoulder pain. They minimize risk factors such as:

  • Repetitive forward bending and
  • Awkward postures
  • Static postures (when used as a forward sloping cushion and changing posture to a rearward sloping cushion or backrest)  

The Buttpillow-Original™️ is best for individuals who use their backrest part of the day and lean forward part of the day. 

The Buttpillow-Ergo™️ is better for individuals who lean forward most of the time or for taller individuals.


  1. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 2000; 26 (1):7-19, “Physical Risk Factors For Neck Pain,” written by Geertje A.M. Ariens, Msc.  Willem van Mechlen, Ph.D.;  Paulien M. Bongers, Ph.D., Lex M. Buter Ph.D.; Gerrit van der Wal, Ph.D.
  2. Journal of Human Ergo., 22:95-113, 1993, “Ergonomics Method for Prevention of the Musculoskeletal Discomforts Among Female Industrial Workers:  Physical Characteristics and Work Factors,“ written by P.  Chavalitsakulchas and H. Shahnavaz, Center for Ergonomics of Developing Countries, Luled University, Sweden.   
  3. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 19:87-107 (1991), “Workplace Ergonomic Factors and the Development of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck and Upper Limbs:  A Meta-Analysis,” written by Susan Stock, M.D., U.S.A.
  4. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitational Medicine 23:127-133, 1991, “Neck and Shoulder Disorders in Medical Secretaries,”  written by Kitty Kam Wendo, Occupational Health Care Center, Orebro Medical Center:  Steven James Linton, Department of Occupational Medicine, Orebro Medical Center; and Ulrich Moritz, Department of Physical Therapy, Lund University, Sweden.
  5. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1987; 44:602-610, “Prevalence Rates and Odds Ratios of Shoulder-Neck Diseases in Different Occupational Groups,” written by M. H. Hagberg, National Board of Occupational Safety and Health, Medical Division, Sweden; and D. H. Wegman, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.N

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