Research Updates

This page lists all research updates available on Return to Work Matters.

Research is chosen for review based on quality of the evidence and its practical value in return to work.

Requests to undertake reviews of research on particular subjects are welcome.

Click the ‘Topics’ button below to drill down into all articles and research updates on your topic of interest.

Bumpy road to RTW with whiplash injuries

contributorRTWMatters team

For people with chronic whiplash-related disorders, RTW is a difficult process, with alternating...

Will IT cause chronic health problems?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Sedentary work and screen time leisure sound warning bells for the future health of the growing...

Migraines: Workplace costs

contributorGabrielle Lis

Migraines are a significant cause of presenteeism, according to research from Japan, with...

Expectations impact sickness absence after carpal tunnel surgery

contributorGabrielle Lis

Worker's pre-surgery expectations about the timing of RTW influence the duration of sickness...

Older workers face worse consequences for hard, physical work

contributorRTWMatters team

The negative health consequences of high physical work demands depend on age, with workers aged...

The OT perspective on RTW and cancer

contributorRTWMatters team

Occupational Therapists (OTs) say people returning to work after cancer are likely to face...

Sick lifestyle? More leave, less work ability

contributorRTWMatters team

Workers with healthy lifestyles have less sick leave and higher work ability than those who...

Moving away from LBP

contributorGabrielle Lis

People with chronic, non specific low back pain may benefit from treatment that identifies and...

Measuring the fairness of IMEs

contributorGabrielle Lis

In a world first, researchers have launched the Basel Fairness Questionnaire (BFQ), a survey...

Treatment guidelines reduce LBP risk

contributorGabrielle Lis

Following international treatment guidelines reduces the risk of transition from short to long...

Tired of MSDs

contributorRTWMatters team

Might more ZZZs or less fatigue help workers with pain from musculoskeletal disorders recover...

Comparing LBP prevention approaches

contributorGabrielle Lis

Fixing the workplace or fixing the person: which is a more effective way to prevent lower back pain?

A new look at depression and RTW

contributorRTWMatters team

Clinical treatment combined with workplace changes is the most promising approach for improving...

Talking about episodic disability at work

contributorRTWMatters team

Canadian researchers explore organisational perspectives on talking about episodic disability at...

Common knee surgery usually unhelpful, may be harmful

contributorGabrielle Lis

Evidence accumulates against arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, a common surgical procedure...

The more the spine changes, the more it stays the same?

contributorRTWMatters team

Neck X-rays show that changes to the cervical spine are common, and become more common and more...

Listening to emergency call-takers

contributorRTWMatters team

It's a tough job with few supports, and far too little research into health and wellbeing...

Sobering news about fibromyalgia treatments

contributorGabrielle Lis

Common treatments for fibromyalgia lack a strong evidence base but exercise and antidepressants...

Call centre workers tired of faking it

contributorGabrielle Lis

Feeling one way and having to act another is a hallmark of call centre work. The resulting...

What hurts worse, trauma or workplace insensitivity?

contributorGabrielle Lis

For ambulance workers, mental health issues result not just from exposure to traumatic events,...

Comcare has success with innovative early intervention program

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Phone triage is an effective gateway to early intervention, securing cost and recovery benefits...

NSW success story of early intervention

contributorGabrielle Lis

Research from NSW shows that early intervention saves money and improves health when it's...

Orebro in the real world

contributorGabrielle Lis

A risk assessment tool that ordinary, under-pressure case managers can use.

You didn't tell me that: Unfair communication and mental health

contributorRTWMatters team

More Australian research supports the link between mental health struggles amongst workers'...

How to get bang for buck from vocational rehabilitation

contributorRTWMatters team

Multi-component vocational rehabilitation programs that intervene early and improve coordination...

Predicting – without overtreating – chronic LBP

contributorGabrielle Lis

A screening tool developed in Australia could help workers’ compensation systems and treating...

Motivational interviewing and RTW

contributorGabrielle Lis

Motivational interviewing is very beneficial, according to injured workers who need practical...

Should workers disclose mental illness at work?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Disclosing a mental illness has potential benefits (increased understanding, improved support)...

Are health apps the way forward for chronic MSDs?

contributorRTWMatters team

A promising new digital care program that monitors exercise and offers personal health coaching...

Non-invasive, drug-free, durable treatments for chronic pain: what works?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Exercise is effective in reducing pain and improving function with many types of chronic pain –...

You can’t manage psychosocial risk if you don’t recognise it

contributorGabrielle Lis

Managers focused on workers' bad attitudes may miss opportunities to control the organisational...

What types of work cause osteoarthritis?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Osteoarthritis is a top-ten cause of disability worldwide. With an ageing workforce, employers...

Collaborative supervisors block bullying

contributorGabrielle Lis

More than half of FIFO workers report bullying at work, which triples worker-reported suicide...

Work demands, work ability and MSDs

contributorGabrielle Lis

Work that places strain on the lower back reduces work ability more than other types of physical...

Threat assessments make or break RTW with PTSD

contributorRTWMatters team

Treaters and RTW professionals who want to promote safe and timely RTW amongst people with PTSD...

Are we taking care of psychiatric nurses?

contributorRTWMatters team

Psychiatric nurses who report the most mental health symptoms see more barriers to seeking help...

We need better workplace interventions for common mental disorders

contributorGabrielle Lis

Tackle the psychosocial work environment if you want to see higher productivity, less sickness...

Evidence-based treatment for combined depression and anxiety

contributorGabrielle Lis

Anxiety and depression commonly go together but can be daunting to treat. A Dutch depression...

SME employers and RTW after cancer

contributorGabrielle Lis

Caring, off-the-cuff and worried about finances: how SMEs manage cancer-related sickness absence...

Digging up trouble

contributorGabrielle Lis

Macho workplace cultures and frictional compensation systems yield financial and emotional...