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Neck Pain in Office Workers

Prevention and Intervention of Neck Pain in Swiss Office Workers (NEXpro)

Problem and Idea

Neck pain is a common issue, especially among office workers. It can reduce physical well-being, affect overall quality of life, and decrease job satisfaction. Additionally, it often leads to reduced productivity, with employees leaving work early due to neck pain or having to redo tasks because they can’t concentrate. These costs are typically borne by the employer.

Currently, there is insufficient scientific knowledge about measures that can effectively prevent and reduce neck pain while simultaneously enhancing productivity. Recent studies have examined neck exercises, health-promotion information, and workplace adjustments following ergonomic guidelines. However, these measures seem to have only marginal effects on both neck pain and productivity.

Therefore, the idea behind the NEXpro project was to investigate the combination of these three measures – neck exercises, health-promotion information, and workplace ergonomics. It was hypothesized that combining these three measures, which individually have only a marginal effect, could achieve a significantly stronger effect.


The primary objective was to increase productivity and, consequently, reduce costs from the employer’s perspective. The secondary objective was to reduce neck pain and enhance the overall quality of life.


The project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. It commenced in May 2019 and was concluded in September 2023.

The study was conducted directly in the workplace within two organizations in the cantons of Zurich and Aargau during the years 2020 to 2021. All office workers received the combination of the three measures in a staggered manner. Health-promotion information was delivered through weekly workshops. Workplace adjustments, aligned with Swiss ergonomic guidelines (SUVA), were implemented. Neck exercises were performed three times a week for 20 minutes each session. The links to the video clips of the neck exercises are provided below.


By combining the three measures, we were able to increase productivity by approximately 30 Swiss Francs per person per week. Furthermore, we were able to reduce the frequency of neck pain and its impact on disability. The intensity of neck pain remained unchanged.




Vitamin G: Bye-bye Nackenschmerzen! (in german)

Subproject on headache

For researchers: You can find further project information in our research database.


Project organization