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.

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...

What is work-focused healthcare?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Physiotherapists, rehabilitation professionals and other health practitioners treating people...

Trying too hard at work

contributorRTWMatters team

The severity of overexertion injuries in construction rises with age, while the frequency of...

Gaming workplace wellness

contributorRTWMatters team

For sedentary office workers, gamification steps up activity but nudges (e.g. signs) in the...

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...