BACKGROUND: There is a high prevalence of neck pain in air force pilots; however, the causes are not clear and are considered workrelated. Kyphotic changes in the cervical spine have been known to cause neck pain. In this study, we investigated the association between neck pain and cervical kyphosis in air force pilots. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study of 63 Republic of South Korea Air Force pilots. We examined the C2-7 absolute rotation angle (ARA) using the posterior tangent method and other radiologic parameters on whole spine lateral radiographs. We divided the participants into a neck pain group (N = 32) and no neck pain group (N = 31), and subsequently analyzed the difference in radiographic parameters and clinical data between the two groups. RESULTS: There were no significant differences found in age, body mass index, total flight time, or aerobic or anaerobic exercise between the neck pain and control groups. The fighter pilots had higher 1-yr prevalence of neck pain than nonfighter pilots (84.4% vs. 15.6%). The lower C2-7 ARA (OR = 0.91, 95% CI 0.846, 0.979) and fighter type aircrafts (OR = 3.93, 95% CI 1.104, 13.989) were associated with neck pain. CONCLUSIONS: Fighter pilots experienced neck pain more frequently than the nonfighter pilots. Those fighter pilots suffering from neck pain were shown to have more kyphotic changes in the cervical spine than control pilots through evaluation of whole spine lateral radiographs using the posterior tangent method. These key findings suggest that the forces involved in flying a fighter type aircraft may affect cervical alignment and neck pain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health