Studies & White Papers

Association between lifestyle and musculoskeletal pain

Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain caused by work is a significant contributor to workplace disability and leave of absence. This study, conducted in 2019 by Micheletti et al., intended to investigate the relationship between lifestyle factors and MSK pain intensity in the lower back and neck-shoulder.

A cross-sectional study of over 10,000 employed wage-earners found the following:

  • Physical activity city and fruit and vegetable intake were associated with lower risk of MSK pain.
  • Smoking was associated with higher risk of MSK pain
  • Physical activity equal to or exceeding 5 hours weekly was associated with lower risk of low back pain and neck-shoulder pain.
  • There was no association between alcohol intake and pain.

Overall, being physically active lowered the risk of MSK pain, while smoking habits and less healthy eating were associated with higher pain when adjusting for age and gender.




Kirsch Micheletti, J., Bláfoss, R., Sundstrup, E. et al. Association between lifestyle and musculoskeletal pain: cross-sectional study among 10,000 adults from the general working population. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 609 (2019).

Published on December 17, 2019