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.

Supervising recovery

contributorAndrea Thompson

Employer response to injury impacts employee recovery. This study identifies where employers go...

Overtreatment HURTS

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

The US demonstrates how overtreating back pain causes more pain.

Improving disability management in the workplace

contributorHilary Hoare

What works when designing disability management programs in the workplace?

Back pain and work: Personal factors

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

A range of studies assess personal factors and how they influence work-related back pain

Kapow! Beating obesity and high blood pressure through workplace intervention

contributorHannah Bourne

Clear goals and helpful tools ensure that workplace interventions pack a real punch

Why work gets us down...

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Understanding the causes of depression in the workplace

Hospitable RTW

contributorJoy Hewitt

Employer reactions can determine RTW outcomes: making workers welcome matters

Burn-out busters! The benefits of psychosocial coaching - the evidence

contributorFriyana Bhabha

This study looks at the effect of preventive coaching on employees with psychosocial health...

Self efficacy, sickness absence and return to work

contributorJulian Fernando

If you feel you can cope with a difficult situation will you get back to work earlier?

Workplace health and wellbeing : You've got to be in it to win it!

contributorAnna Dunn

Comprehensive equals effective when it comes to workplace health and wellbeing programs...

Treating back pain: when surgery does not make the cut

contributorHannah Bourne

A review of the effectiveness of non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain.

Want to reduce sick leave? Be a good leader!

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Good organisational leadership reduces sick leave and disability

The surprising incidence of pain in young adults

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Short and long term pain is common in the 18-25 year old age group.

The lowdown on leg pain or sciatica

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Researchers still argue about how common sciatica is, and precisely how it should be defined....

The great unknown: risk factors for co-existing chronic pain syndromes

contributorJoy Hewitt

The current understanding of the occurrence of multiple regional chronic pain syndromes is...

The 'work ability' divide

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Who falls in the anti-collaboration chasm when doctors and insurers have different ideas about...

Should you put your neck out for exercise

contributorHannah Bourne

How effective are exercises in treating mechanical neck problems?

Teamwork: what works?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Teamwork is an art and a science. Learn to nurture it with style!

"But I didn't touch him"

contributorFriyana Bhabha

What is non-physical violence, and how does it impact the workplace?

She'll be right: Under-reporting injury in the workplace

contributorFrancesca McSteen

According to one study, only 52% of work related injury and illness gets reported

Back pain with no explanation is scary

contributorHannah Bourne

What do people with different kinds of back pain believe about pain and how do these beliefs...

Seeking compensation for major trauma after accidental injury - more stress than its worth??

contributorJoy Hewitt

A clinical study has identified that the development and persistence of post-traumatic stress...

Real bad back pain? On-the-spot physio provides short term gain

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Physiotherapy for acute back pain is good in the short term, but education and movement bring...

Return to work is possible after Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

contributorAndrea Thompson

While CFS is a significantly debilitating and lengthy illness, there is evidence to suggest a...

Treating knee pain in older adults

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Practitioners under-prescribe key effective treatments: Education, exercise and weight loss

What contributes to recurrent back bother?

contributorHannah Bourne

A look at the workplace factors associated with repeat visits to back pain clinics

Depression: Optimising care for the employee and the workplace

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Depression exacerbates and prolongs pain. What does this mean for the workplace?

Lets get physical, physical!

contributorHannah Bourne

What makes some people more likely to participate in physical activity than others?

Costs vs benefits of obesity interventions

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Workplace health program shows reductions in total health costs and improvements in productivity

A tool to measure motivation

contributorJoy Hewitt

The Model of Creative Ability may be a useful tool in return-to-work programs to assess and...

Supermarket workers shelve musculoskeletal disorders

contributorFrancesca McSteen

Lower back pain poses problems for supermarket workers, but chances are they wont tell

Competencies required for effective return-to-work coordination

contributorJoy Hewitt

A recent review of the literature has identified the core competencies that are important for...

Coaching the chronically ill

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Education, behavioural change and support: Effective coaching methods to assist patients

Mismanaging depression

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

What are the barriers to effective management of depression in the workplace?

Is your arthritis a pain in the back?

contributorHannah Bourne

This study investigates the link between osteoarthritis in the facet joints of the spine and the...

Does zest for work influence return to work?

contributorAndrea Thompson

Job satisfaction and engagement both influence work attendance.

Does safety education save backs?

contributorHannah Bourne

Can workplace back safety education programs reduce the risk of back injuries and complications?

Doctors and back pain: Who you see influences the treatment you get

contributorHannah Bourne

While some doctors follow best practice guidelines for lower back pain, many get it wrong...

Back pain? Stick a needle in it!

contributorHannah Bourne

Researchers examine the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic low back pain.

Healthy work environment = Healthy workers

contributorFrancesca McSteen

Workers care about support and respect in the workplace and notice whether health and safety are...