Theme 1 projects:

Musculoskeletal health and work in the general population

The Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) Study
Investigators: K Palmer, D Coggon, K Walker-Bone, CH Linaker, EC Harris, G Ntani

1. To assess the impact at older ages of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and other illnesses on work capability, employment status, and job retention.
2. To explore the medical, social, occupational, and personal co-factors that modify these relationships.
3. To assess the risks (and benefits) to health – musculoskeletal and otherwise – of remaining in work at older ages, and their predictors – i.e. the health impact of policies to extend working life.
4. To assess the impact of MSD-related and other health-related job loss on subsequent health.
5. To identify modifiable factors that could be influenced by employers to enable retention of workers to older ages.

Biomechanics of the spine in relation to low back pain
Investigators: A McGregor, A Bull, I Madan
Research Fellows: E Papi (Post-doctoral Fellow)

1. To understand the relationship of psychosocial factors to posture and spinal function in people suffering from non-specific low back pain (LBP) and healthy controls.
2. To characterise differences in movement patterns between people with and without LBP.
3. To explore whether there are differences in movement patterns between people with different types of LBP (acute, recurrent, chronic)
4. To determine if any of the evaluated parameters (kinematics, kinetics, psychosocial) predicts development of LBP
5. To investigate whether there is any association of psychosocial factors and/or movement patterns with people’s occupation.

Investigating Cognitive Processes which influence how individuals manage low back pain
Investigators: G Macfarlane, M de Bruijn
Research Fellow: L Morton (PhD Student)

1. To describe the content of individuals’ perceptions of back pain;
2. To explore relationships between perceptions of back pain and pain management behaviours, in order to identify perceptions which may be particularly important for the selection of specific management behaviours;
3. To identify personal and symptom characteristics which are associated with different perceptions of back pain;
4. To investigate whether presentation of messages correspond, differentially, to different perceptions of back pain and planned management behaviours.

What are the modifiable factors that would enable people to work to older ages in health and comfort?
Investigators: K Walker-Bone, E Dennison, M Barker, K Palmer
Research Fellow: Martin Stevens (PhD Student)

To identify factors which could be potentially modifiable by employers to enable their workers to remain in work to older ages

The impact of comorbidity on musculoskeletal health and work in middle aged and older adults
Investigators: N Goodson, R Moots, K Walker-Bone, K Palmer
Research Fellow: Stephen Duffield (PhD Student)
To investigate the impact of comorbidities such as mental ill-health, cardio-respiratory disease and diabetes on ability to work amongst people with MSDs