Low-back pain

Low-back pain is a common disorder involving the muscles, nerves and bones of the back. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling. Low-back pain is usually classified by duration as acute (pain lasting less than six weeks), sub-chronic (six to 12 weeks) or chronic (more than 12 weeks). IWH research looks at the occupational risk factors for back pain, how to treat and manage it, and prognostic factors related to recovery and return to work.

Japanese craftsperson stands in front of his workstation, smiling
Sharing Best Evidence

What workplace interventions help workers with MSDs, pain and mental health conditions return to work?

This update of a previous systematic review sets out to find workplace-based interventions that are effective in helping workers with musculoskeletal, pain-related and/or mental health conditions return to work.
Published: December 2019
Journal article
Journal article

Lack of prognostic model validation in low back pain prediction studies: a systematic review

Published: Clinical Journal of Pain, August 2018
Canadian HR Reporter logo
IWH in the media

Opioids linked to longer disability leaves

A Canadian review of five studies have found a link between opioid prescriptions and longer duration of time on disability, writes Sarah Dobson, who interviews Dr. Nancy Carnide and Dr. Andrea Furlan, among others, about implications of this IWH study.
Published: Canadian HR Reporter, June 2018
Journal article
Journal article

Systematic review of prognostic factors for return to work in workers with sub acute and chronic low back pain

Published: Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, September 2017
Journal article
The Guardian logo
IWH in the media

Epidemic of untreatable back an neck pain costs billions, study finds

Costing the US alone $88bn a year, low back and neck pain is widespread and expensive. Dr. Andrea Furlan of the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and Cochrane Back and Neck discusses treatment options that are recommended, as well as some that aren't.
Published: The Guardian, February 2017
Consumer Reports logo
IWH in the media

Should you try massage for back pain?

How does a rubdown compare with physical therapy and acupuncture for treating back pain? Institute for Work & Health's Dr. Andrea Furlan comments on the research evidence.
Published: Consumer Reports, July 2016