The aim of the present study was to assess theoccurrence and persistence of two restrictively defined neck – shoulder disorders among handloom weavers and to assess associated factors at baseline for becoming a case and prognostic factors for remaining case when disorders were already present. The subjects at baseline and at 1 and 2 years follow up underwent a clinical examination of the neck and arm and filled in a questionnaire about current musculoskeletal complaints. Clinical criteria for two main neck – shoulder disorders, rotator cuff tendinitis and myofascial pain syndrome were defined.The overall prevalence of myofascial pain syndrome and rotator cuff tendinitis was 15.2 % and 5.8 % among weavers compared with 9.0 % and 2.2 % respectively among controls. The presence of the disorders was strongly associated with a poor perception of poor general health. Although myofascial pain syndrome showed a ‘U’ shaped association with years of work experience, rotator cuff tendinitis was absent among weavers with less number of years of work experience. Besides years of work experience, the risk of having a neck – shoulder disorder at baseline was significantly associated with high stress. Rotator cuff tendinitis showed a higher degree of persistence than myofascial pain syndrome. Both disorders highly influenced the perception of general health.