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A questionnaire survey of 328 hospital employees was used to establish the general prevalence of neck symptoms related to everyday activities in a representative population of working society. The response rate was 92 per cent. Of the study population of 302, 54 had suffered a neck injury, and of this group, 43 (80 per cent) had some neck discomfort during or after performing normal everyday tasks. Of the symptomatic cases, only seven (16 per cent) admitted that they had suffered from some neck symptoms before the injury, whilst 36 (84 per cent) attributed all of their neck symptoms to the injury sustained. Of the total population, 248 had not suffered a neck injury and of this group 84 (34 per cent) suffered some neck discomfort during or after performing normal everyday tasks. The χ2 test was used to test the null hypothesis that the sub-group attributing their symptoms to injury, in whom only 16 per cent acknowledged pre-existent neck symptoms, was derived from the same population as the group who had not suffered any definite neck injury, and yet were still troubled with some neck symptoms in 34 per cent of cases. This hypothesis was rejected (P < 0.01), indicating that there was a significant difference between these two groups. We conclude that some individuals who suffer a neck injury do not recall that they suffered some minor neck symptoms before injury. The statistical analysis and alternative possible explanations are discussed. Our conclusions may be of medico-legal importance in cases where compensation is being sought.
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Accepted: July 20, 1994
© 1995 Published by Elsevier Inc.