Recent publications

Recent publications

Can group-based reassuring information alter low back pain behaviour? A cluster-randomised controlled trial

Frederiksen P, Indahl A, Andersen LL, Burton K, Hertzum-Larsen R, Bendix T.

Reassuring information involving simple non-threatening explanation for low back pain significantly increased the odds of days for wiork participation and higher work ability among workers who went on to experience back pain during the 12-month follow-up. Our results confirm the potential for pubic-health education for back pain, and add to the discussion of simple versus multidisciplinary interventions.

Developing an intervention toolbox for common health problems in the workplace (RR 1053). HSE Books, 2016

Kendall N, Burton K, Lunt J, Mellor N, Daniels K.

The project brief was to develop the content for an intervention toolbox for common health
problems in the workplace - musculoskeletal, mental health and stress complaints. The intention
was to develop a prototype toolbox that can be taken forward to (1) minimise the occurrence of
work-relevant common health problems (CHPs) and (2) reduce avoidable sickness absence,
healthcare use and long-term disability for CHP complaints that inevitably occur in the
workplace. The Health ↔ Work Toolbox holds considerable potential to augment existing
primary prevention strategies and healthcare delivery, thus providing a more comprehensive
approach to constraining sickness absence.

The psychosocial flags framework: overcoming obstacles to work

A talk for the Henry Stewart Talks

Kim Burton. In O'Dowd J, Hlavsova A. Eds. Current Thinking in Back Pain Management, The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks Ltd, London, 2015. Online at

The key to helping the person who is struglging to stay at work or return to work with back pain is to identify and address the pertinent psychosocial obstacles, which can be done using the evidence-informed Psychosocial Flags Framework. Effective return-to-work relies on early intervention combining work-focused healthcare and workplace accommodation, which requires communication and cooperation between the players (person; healthcare; workplace) - this will be facilitated by a shift in the culture around work and health to adopt the principle of recovering while working.

Telephonic support to facilitate return to work: what works, how, and when?

A review for DWP: December 2013

Kim Burton, Nick Kendall, Serena McCluskey, Pauline Dibben

Telephonic approaches have much to offer in supporting work participation for people with common musculoskeletal and mental health problems. When well designed and implemented, and with suitable governance, telephonic case management approaches can speed return to work and reduce overall case costs.

Musculoskeletal disorders - ABC of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Burton K, Kendall N. BMJ 2014;348:g1076

The Arm Book

The Arm Book is an evidence-based publlic health educational resource. People want accurate information and advice about their health problems. They want to be certain about what is best to do and what is safe to do. The Arm Book has been written to meet that need for people with common
upper limb problems. Based on sound scientific evidence, The Arm Book answers your important questions: what's happened, what to do about it, whether to seek treatment, whether to rest, whether to stay at work, and what the future holds. The news is good - there is a lot you can do to help yourself and get back to normal - The Arm Book tells you how.

Health impacts of pedestrian head-loading: a review of the evidence with particular reference to women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Porter G, Hampshire K, Dunn C, Hall R, Levesley M, Burton K, Robson S, Abane A, Blell M, Panther J.  Social Science & Medicine 2013;88:90-97


Across sub-Saharan Africa, women and children play major roles as pedestrian load-transporters, in the widespread absence of basic sanitation services, electricity and affordable/reliable motorised transport. The majority of loads, including water and firewood for domestic purposes, are carried on the head. Load-carrying has implications not only for school attendance and performance, women's time budgets and gender relations, but arguably also for health and well-being. We report findings from a comprehensive review of relevant literature, undertaken June-September 2012, focussing particularly on biomechanics, maternal health, and the psycho-social impacts of load-carrying; we also draw from our own research. Key knowledge gaps and areas for future research are highlighted.