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.

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Person-centred care is an important part of care for people with musculoskeletal pain...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Not everyone with persistent pain conditions can access specialised pain services. How effective...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Self-management can be a game-changer in helping patients take control of their pain and start...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

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

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

contributorLauren Finestone

It is now accepted that self-management is critical for people with chronic conditions. But what...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

What’s the economic impact or work-related illness or injury? Safe Work Australia engaged...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

It’s the people who have first-hand experience of a service or system that can give the most...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

What impact does friction between workers’ comp stakeholder have on the effective rehabilitation...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Lumbar spinal fusion surgery is an increasing, but controversial procedure for chronic low back...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Most injured workers return to work quickly. But why don’t others? And what can we do to reduce...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

A Victorian study into the factors that influence longer term workers’ compensation claims found...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

A study finds that people with long duration workers’ compensation claims were more likely than...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

What do we know about physiotherapists’ understanding of, attitudes to and experiences of...

Physios and patients give telehealth the thumbs up

contributorLauren Finestone

Physios and patients who had consultations by videoconference during the COVID-19 pandemic liked...

Spark joy to stay safe at work

contributorLauren Finestone

Leaders’ behaviours can influence employees — and also prevent workplace injuries — through...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

A study into the relationship between perceptions of injustice and chronic pain gives us reason...

Workplace conflict — a big risk factor for sick leave

contributorLauren Finestone

A new study found that conflicts in the workplace — particularly with supervisors — are an...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

An evidence-based physiotherapy program that began in Denmark and was adopted in Australia is...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

A study from the Institute for Work and Health provides 5 strategies you can use to effectively...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Misunderstandings and mistaken beliefs about the diagnosis and management of degenerative...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Payments for healthcare represent the second largest item of expenditure for Australian workers’...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

How different are the RTW experiences of workers with work-related psychological injuries and...

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

contributorLauren Finestone

Depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders. Work can be the problem or the solution if you...

RTW expectations built on trust, workplace support and actions of treatment provider

contributorRTWMatters team

RTW expectations predict recovery from musculoskeletal injury. Workplace supports, trust and the...

Work demands and resources linked to mental health absences

contributorRTWMatters team

Work that offers few learning opportunities, low co-worker and supervisor support, high...

What aspects of work cause MSDs for professional drivers?

contributorRTWMatters team

Interventions for work-related MSDs should not be based merely on addressing the symptoms, but...

An evidence-based system for occupational mental health interventions

contributorWork Wellness Institute, Canada

Covering risk assessment, implementation, RTW, EAPs and post-implementation quality improvement,...

Quality of work predicts mental health

contributorRTWMatters team

There is a strong link between work quality and mental health, and some workers are slugged by...

Benevolence at work

contributorRTWMatters team

A sense of being able to give is linked to less stress and depression at work.

Case management survey: caseloads, commitment and self-training

contributorRTWMatters team

We share results from the 2021 Return to Work Matters Case Management Survey, completed by more...

Study probes factors behind poorer health, lower employment in injured workers’ post-claim experience

contributorInstitute for Work and Health

New injured worker cohort study at IWH focuses on experiences of workers with long-duration...

Pain Reprocessing Therapy can resolve chronic back pain

contributorGabrielle Lis

For people with chronic back pain, psychological treatment that tackles unhelpful beliefs about...

The high cost of losing value at work

contributorRTWMatters team

Supervisors need to recognise that workers who feel socially devalued at work suffer health and...

Opportunity to increase value in low back pain care

contributorRTWMatters team

A single pain management skills session is as effective at reducing pain catastrophising for...

Targeted prevention of long-term sickness absence

contributorRTWMatters team

Some prevention strategies go the distance, reducing long term sickness absence even five years...

Workplace interventions to prevent sedentary pain

contributorGabrielle Lis

Are inflating and deflating “smart seats” the cure for back and neck pain amongst sedentary...

Good news on remote work (but not pandemic health)

contributorRTWMatters team

Shifting to remote work during lockdown doesn’t necessarily derail health. However, workers may...

Back pain RTW delayed by poor mental health

contributorGabrielle Lis

Depression and anxiety delay sustained RTW for workers with work-related musculoskeletal...

Failure to implement

contributorGabrielle Lis

Workplace health and wellbeing programs almost always sound great in theory, but often come...