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In this epidemiological study of acute prolapsed cervical intervertebral disc, we found that people in the fourth decade of life were affected somewhat more frequently than individuals in other age groups, and men with a prolapsed cervical disc outnumbered women by a ratio of 1.4 to one. Factors that were associated relatively strongly with this diagnosis were frequent lifting of heavy objects on the job that was held around the time of the onset of symptoms, cigarette-smoking, and frequent diving from a board. Positive associations that were of borderline statistical significance or were not statistically significant were found with operating or driving vibrating equipment and time spent in motor vehicles. Variables that did not appear to affect the risk for a prolapsed cervical disc included participation in certain sports other than diving, frequent wearing of shoes with high heels, the number of pregnancies or live births, frequent twisting of the neck on the job, time spent sitting on the job, and smoking cigars or a pipe.