Research Updates

Lauren Finestone

Articles by ‘Lauren Finestone’
What levers can rehab professionals pull to promote staying at work after injury?

Occupational rehab professionals can help workers adopt preventive behaviours when returning to work by educating, engaging, coaching and collaborating with them.

‘It's just bone crunchin’ on bone’ — an example of non-recovery-oriented messaging

Healthcare practitioners can worsen their patients’ condition if they communicate negative biomedical beliefs about low back pain. 

Culture not trauma — a new approach to identifying and preventing mental harm in first responders: Part 2

A study highlights the importance of addressing ‘moral injury’, organisational practices and psychosocial safety to promote the well-being of first responders and prevent psychological...

The enduring impact of what clinicians say to people with low back pain

Healthcare professionals have more influence than they may realise on the attitudes and beliefs of people grappling with low back pain. They have a powerful opportunity to use this power for good.

‘This is so unfair’. Preventing perceptions of injustice after a work injury.

A sense of injustice is common among injured workers and can prolong their suffering. What causes it? And how can we prevent it?

Culture not trauma — a new approach to identifying and preventing mental harm in first responders (Part 1)

A study suggests it’s time for a rethink on what causes distress in first responders and how to prevent and treat it.

The impact of tailored programs on RTW outcomes

A study provides valuable insights into long-term outcomes for tailored interventions in managing persistent pain.

Professional challenges in private physiotherapy practice

A study suggests that competition overrides communication and collaboration in private physio practice and compromises patient care.

The social network — how others’ fears about pain affect RTW

The fears that the people around injured workers — their employers, family members and GPs — have about pain and (re)injury can influence RTW. Everyone involved in the RTW process must get the...

What sustains RTW success for workers with mental and musculoskeletal conditions?

Supervisors, senior managers and workplace culture play an important role in how well workers do when they return to work after being on sick leave.

How useful are scripted messages? — the link between evidence and practice

What does the evidence say about using scripted messages to communicate with people?

Checking the benefits of workplace mental health screening

A study suggests that workplace mental health screening programs on their own may not be very effective in improving employee mental health.

‘I rest my case’ — the evidence is in on psychosocial hazards for law teachers

Universities need to support student well-being, but this requires them to support the well-being of their teachers too. Some simple but effective changes would reduce the psychosocial risks for...

‘You look much prettier when you smile’ — emerging psychosocial risks in the hospitality industry

A study identifies some new psychosocial risks in hospitality jobs and proposes a way to assess them.

What gets in the way of physios using the biopsychosocial model for persistent pain?

What things make it harder or easier for physiotherapists to use a biopsychosocial approach when treating patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain?

Let’s (not just) get physical — psychosocial hazards play a role in musculoskeletal disorders too

Three recent studies show how important it is for workplaces to focus on identifying and controlling psychosocial as well as physical hazards if they want to reduce musculoskeletal disorders.

There’s an app for that — getting back to work after a brain injury

An app called ‘RTW after TBI’ could help people return to work and deal with the challenges they face in their daily lives after a traumatic brain injury.

Do you see what I see? — there’s safety in unity

A study suggests that when employers and workers agree on what workplace risks are and how to deal with them — especially psychosocial risks — it can lead to a safer and healthier work...

A Wysa approach to recovery from work-related injury

A study of an AI drive app shows that digital psychosocial interventions can improve recovery for people with work-related injuries.

Do inspections by regulators prevent psychosocial risks at work?

A study found that visits by inspectors can improve how companies manage psychosocial risks

Be a caring climate engineer — a roadmap for cultivating healthier and more successful workplaces

Evidence shows that a caring environment can have a powerful impact on workers’ mental health outcomes.

Can work health and safety management systems address psychosocial risks?

Using anonymous data in workplace risk assessments, taking the results seriously and having a systematic approach to managing them can help organisations deal with psychosocial risks.

Workplace bullying and sick leave — a 2-way street

Bullying increases the risk of workers getting sick and taking time off from work, both in the short term and the long term.

Job demands as psychosocial hazards — reducing the risks through the power of nature and virtual reality

A study suggests that taking a break, getting some exercise and spending time in nature — either in reality or virtually — can help to control the psychosocial risks associated with job...

Medical narratives — a telling tale of how to communicate about problems and solutions in low back pain recovery

A study shows how using medical narratives — or sharing stories about medical experiences — can influence patients’ outcomes from low back pain.

Mind and mood — how psychosocial factors shape recovery from surgery

Research shows that our emotional and mental state can influence how well we heal and bounce back from surgery.

Opioids are no better than placebos for acute back and neck pain

A study busts the myth that pain medications are necessary to ‘get on top of the pain’.

How do regulators respond to complaints about psychosocial and physical hazards? And how should they? — Part 1

A recent study reveals that when it comes to workplace hazards, work, health and safety inspectors treat psychosocial hazards differently from physical and musculoskeletal hazards.

How do regulators respond to complaints about psychosocial and physical hazards? And how should they? — Part 2

A recent study reveals that when it comes to workplace hazards, work, health and safety inspectors treat psychosocial hazards differently from physical and musculoskeletal hazards.

Return to work is not colour blind — examining racial inequality in RTW processes

A study reveals that workers of colour are less likely to return to work after illness or injury.

I swear it helped my pain — why the F-word feels so good when it hurts

Swearing feels good — not just psychologically, it also helps us tolerate pain.

Finding the right words — the best way to reassure patients when things are uncertain

A study suggests that some types of reassurance by doctors might be more helpful than others when dealing with pain conditions with no clear cause.

The 'wicked' problem of addressing psychosocial hazards — lessons from abroad

What makes it so hard to effectively assess and implement measures to address psychosocial hazards in the workplace? A study offers insights into the challenges and barriers and how to overcome them.

Back on track — the use of mental health services by workers with low back pain

Early mental health services can accelerate recovery, improve function and improve return-to-work outcomes for workers with low back pain.

Walking back from low back pain — what motivates people to start and stick to exercise

A study into what motivates people to engage in programs for preventing low back pain offers practical recommendations to get people to engage with and stick to exercise programs.

The relationship between work disability and suicide or self-harm

A study confirms the strong link between work disability and suicide or self-harm.

Can self-compassion reduce pain-related disability?

Being kinder to oneself may be a key to dealing with ongoing pain and achieving greater well-being

‘Manage at Work’ — a worksite self-management program boosts engagement and retention

A worksite self-management program that used a group psycho-education format helped workers with persistent or chronic health conditions stay engaged and on the job.

Peer support for self-management of persistent pain — 3 basic ingredients that make it effective

By using the 3 ‘ingredients’ of self-determination theory, healthcare professionals can help people cope with persistent pain and adjust to life with greater confidence and resilience.

The RESTORE study reinforces the benefits of cognitive functional therapy for back pain

A recent study into a new approach called Cognitive Functional Therapy offers hope for those with disabling and persistent low back pain.

I expect, therefore I will — the link between positive expectations and recovery

There is increasing recognition of the importance of psychological factors in how we recover from musculoskeletal injuries. One of those factors is believing we’ll get better.

What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like?

Concerns about the lack of quality of care for musculoskeletal pain conditions led researchers to see if they could identify one set of recommendations for the best practice care of a range of...

Don’t take back pain lying down — how rest can make ‘flares’ worse

A study confirms that even small changes in your daily habits, like how long you sleep and how active you are, can make a difference to whether you have a pain flare-up or not.

From long-term pain to workplace gain — self-management strategies for success at work

Long-term pain conditions are common for many working adults and can have a big impact on job performance and quality of life. But there are ways employers and workers can work together to manage...

Shouldering the load — what education patients with rotator cuff pain want

A study shows what people who have rotator cuff-related shoulder pain want when it comes to education about their condition.

Staying at work with musculoskeletal pain — what resources and information do people need?

A study into how people with ongoing musculoskeletal pain experience their workplaces and how they look for information sheds light on what they need to help them stay at work.

From patient to partner — collaboration boosts long-term back pain self-management

Self-management is now seen as a collaboration between the person living with the pain and their health professionals. But it’s useful to understand what it is about that patient–professional...

Exploring an AI-powered solution to long-term back pain

We’re becoming more and more aware that traditional treatments for long-term back pain — like opioid medications and surgery — can be costly, ineffective or even risky. A new, alternative...

Is exercise really a good way to self-manage depression?

For people who are looking for a natural, drug-free way to manage their depression, a recent study confirms that exercise can be a fantastic option. It's especially important for those who may not...

To follow, or not follow, the script? That is the question (Act 2) — physios’ attention to the human aspects of care for people with low back pain

Physios should ‘tinker with’ or ‘throw away the script’ if they want to respond in a more person-centred way to patients with low back pain.

To follow, or not follow, the script? That is the question (Act 1) — physios’ attention to the human aspects of care for people with low back pain

Physios should ‘tinker with’ or ‘throw away the script’ if they want to respond in a more person-centred way to patients with low back pain.

Person-centred care for musculoskeletal pain — a tool to put principles into practice

Person-centred care is an important part of care for people with musculoskeletal pain conditions. But evidence that some healthcare professionals struggle to integrate person-centred care...

Self-managing pain — websites and other tools for healthcare and RTW practitioners

Not everyone with persistent pain conditions can access specialised pain services. How effective are websites as a tool to help them manage their pain?

Supporting self-management of long-term conditions — the ‘who for’, ‘who by’, ‘what works’ and ‘how’

It is now accepted that self-management is critical for people with chronic conditions. But what works best? And for which conditions? A comprehensive review of the evidence gives healthcare...

Why self-management can be hard to do — barriers in primary healthcare settings

A study explores the barriers to self-management of chronic pain conditions in primary healthcare settings.

What helps (and doesn’t help) people self-manage their chronic musculoskeletal pain — tools for healthcare providers

Self-management can be a game-changer in helping patients take control of their pain and start living their lives to the fullest. But it’s often easier said than done. A study shows what patients...

Safer, healthier, wealthier — the economic value of reducing work-related injuries and illnesses

What’s the economic impact of work-related illness or injury? Safe Work Australia engaged Deloitte Access Economics find out. A ground-breaking economic modelling approach shows that our economy...

Victorian Injured Worker Outcomes Study Part 4 — suggestions for improvement to the workers’ compensation system

It’s the people who have first-hand experience of a service or system that can give the most valuable feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Participants in the Victorian injured worker...

When there’s a fraction too much friction — communication and collaboration between stakeholders promotes RTW

What impact does friction between workers’ comp stakeholder have on the effective rehabilitation and timely return-to-work of injured workers? And what’s the reason for this friction?

The outcomes of lumbar spinal fusion surgery — a tale of 2 studies

Lumbar spinal fusion surgery is an increasing, but controversial procedure for chronic low back pain. Two studies suggest we need to rethink its value for injured workers.

Victorian Injured Worker Outcomes Study Part 3 — what happens to injured workers at the end of their workers’ comp claim?

Workers with long term claims face many challenges when their claims end. Difficulty finding work and being ineligible for Centrelink benefits and other government support programs are just some...

Victorian Injured Worker Outcomes Study Part 2 — how healthcare providers and case managers affect RTW outcomes

Most injured workers return to work quickly. But why don’t others? And what can we do to reduce those factors that can delay recovery and extend claims. Healthcare providers and insurance case...

The Victorian Injured Worker Outcomes Study: Part 1 — the impact of IMEs on workers’ recovery

A Victorian study into the factors that influence longer term workers’ compensation claims found that some ‘events’ in workers’ compensation systems can lead to lengthy claims. One of those key...

A look at hospital admissions after long-duration workers’ compensation claims

A study finds that people with long duration workers’ compensation claims were more likely than others to need hospital treatment in the year before, and the year after, their payments stopped.

Physios and patients give telehealth the thumbs up

Physios and patients who had consultations by videoconference during the COVID-19 pandemic liked that way of providing care.

What do physios think about exercise programs to prevent low back pain?

What do we know about physiotherapists’ understanding of, attitudes to and experiences of delivering low back pain exercise programs?

Spark joy to stay safe at work

Leaders’ behaviours can influence employees — and also prevent workplace injuries — through ‘emotional contagion’. Here’s how.

‘It’s not fair. And it hurts’. The relationship between perceived injustice, chronic pain, recovery and RTW

A study into the relationship between perceptions of injustice and chronic pain gives us reason to make sure that the processes, communication and relationships in our work injury schemes are fair.

Workplace conflict — a big risk factor for sick leave

A new study found that conflicts in the workplace — particularly with supervisors — are an important risk factor for sick leave among workers. The good news is, we can do something about it. ...

GLA:D to have an evidence-informed approach for painful knees and hips

An evidence-based physiotherapy program that began in Denmark and was adopted in Australia is seeing impressive results in people with (or who have a high risk of developing) knee and hip...

Getting the message right: strategies to improve return to work communication

A study from the Institute for Work and Health provides 5 strategies you can use to effectively communicate with workers about RTW.

Scans rule, don’t they? Patient misbeliefs and misconceptions about spine conditions

Misunderstandings and mistaken beliefs about the diagnosis and management of degenerative conditions in the cervical spine are common and can influence clinical outcomes. This makes effective...

‘An epidemic of useless and often harmful care’ — Part 2

Payments for healthcare represent the second largest item of expenditure for Australian workers’ compensation schemes after income replacement. And it’s growing. But what are schemes paying for?...

Are there RTW differences for workers with psychological and musculoskeletal injuries?

How different are the RTW experiences of workers with work-related psychological injuries and those with musculoskeletal injuries? And what can make these experiences more equal?

Work — the problem, or the solution to common mental health issues?

Depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders. Work can be the problem or the solution if you are dealing with these, or other, common mental health issues. What are the factors that make the...