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.

School of (back) pain!

contributorHannah Bourne

Brief, face-to-face education works best for chronic LBP rehabilitation

What is occupational contact dermatitis?

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Know the facts about this common skin condition.

Epidemiology for Beginners

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Introducing the basics and explaining the terminology

The costs of mental health problems ARE negotiable

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Lowering the costs of mental health problems for governments, employers, families and sufferers

Treatment recommendations: making them stick

contributorFriyana Bhabha

How to help patients adhere to treatment recommendations

Fear, distress and heavy lifting: predictors of ongoing back pain

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Psychological distress, heavy lifting and fear of activity are better predictors of back pain...

Bearing the brunt of obesity

contributorFriyana Bhabha

How obesity impacts the workplace

Upper extremity overuse and RTW

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Two-thirds of workers with upper extremity overuse experience a recurrence of pain after RTW....

What is behind psychosocial sick leave?

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

A look at the factors which predict psychosocial sick leave.

Optimising occupational health

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

Decisions made in occupational health care that follow the 5-step protocol of evidence based...

Distress, fatigue and long-term sick leave

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

What puts men and women at risk of taking long term sick leave? This study explores the roles...

Tick, tick, tick: The timing of intervention.

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

Intervention by nurse case managers during the first week after onset of back pain improves...

Why me? Predicting neck pain

contributorJoy Hewitt

Certain factors put people at risk of recurrent neck pain. What predicts recovery? This study...

A pain in the neck?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A Canadian study explores the relationship between neck pain and lost time claims.

Early intervention: Risky business?

contributorGabrielle Lis

Early intervention programs for lower back pain aim to keep workers in the workplace. How can...

When safety turns dangerous...

contributorAndrea Thompson

Safety incentive programs may reduce workplace injury rates but they can also cause...

Save lives and money with health and productivity management

contributorAndrea Thompson

The best work disability programs are broader than return to work management. Improving the...

More than just pain

contributorFriyana Bhabha

There is more to chronic widespread pain, than pain itself.

Is there a place for therapeutic RTW?

contributorGabrielle Lis

A comparison of train-before-placing and place-before-training models demonstrates that on the...

Compensating for legislation

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Case Study NSW: How do changes to a compensation system effect whiplash recovery outcomes?

Left behind in the RTW journey - Part 1

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A look at barriers to return to work for those out of work for two years. Return to work after...

Left behind in the RTW journey - Part 2

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Long term claimants commonly describe a system that is frustrating, does not consider their...

If RTW with chronic back pain fails, try a new approach

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Chronic pain is challenging to manage. Dr Wyatt describes a hotel worker's persistent, disabling...

Which work factors determine job satisfaction?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Job satisfaction improves mental health. Task variety, colleagues, and general working...

Shifting attitudes to back pain - the Scots follow the Aussies

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A public health campaign in Scotland has improved people's understanding and beliefs about back...

Employee input into improving their work environment: just the prescription for treating sick leave absences

contributorJoy Hewitt

An 'organisational rehabilitation' program that identified and addressed employees' concerns...

Locus of control and vocational rehabilitation

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A sense of control over the situation improves return to work outcomes.

The empowerment of people with neck pain

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Improved understanding about neck problems helps the patient get a better grasp on their...

The world's best look at neck pain

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

The Task Force on Neck Pain was a major undertaking, seeking to review and summarise information...

Musculoskeletal problems with anxiety / depression - double trouble.

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

People with musculoskeletal disorders and accompanying depression or anxiety have reduced levels...

Workplace injuries, absenteeism and turnover among nurses are influenced by role stresses

contributorJoy Hewitt

Workplace intervention programs to reduce injuries, absenteeism and turnover among nurses should...

How effective is individual patient education for people with low back pain?

contributorAndrea Thompson

Evidence suggests provision of an intensive one-on-one education session can improve the short...

Shoulder and elbow pain - which treatments work?

contributorAnna Kelsey-Sugg

Evidence for and against common treatments for shoulder and elbow pain.

Lifting expectations brings results

contributorJulian Fernando

Advice for health professionals about the best attitudes for patients to adopt on the road to...

Return-to-work coordinators: who are they and what do they do?

contributorJoy Hewitt

A detailed review of the tasks and role of coordinators