Clinical treatment and health measurement

When workers are injured, they want to know what treatments and rehabilitation programs will help ensure their full and speedy recovery. Their health-care providers, employers and workers’ compensation systems want to know, too. Institute for Work & Health (IWH) research continues to make important contributions to evidence-based practices for treating and assessing work-related injuries and disorders—in particular, acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, such as low-back pain, neck pain and disorders of the arms, shoulders and hands. This research also looks at prognostic factors related to recovery and rehabilitation.

Latest news and findings


Five reasons why mental illness claims are so challenging for benefit administrators

Benefit claims for mental illness are a challenge for income support program administrators. How to prove the illness and verify its duration are just some of the difficulties identified by Dr. Ashley McAllister in her study on policy design. McAllister, a post-doctoral fellow at Sweden’s Karolinksa Institute, recently shared her findings at a plenary hosted by IWH, where she was a visiting researcher. Read the highlights of that presentation in a new At Work article.

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IWH research team plays key role in new rehabilitation guidelines from WHO

Strengthening rehabilitation services is becoming a key challenge to health systems around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In February, the global body released new guidelines encouraging countries to ramp up their rehabilitation services to ensure people with health conditions function at their best. The guidelines are evidence-based—and that is where IWH comes in. Institute Scientist Dr. Andrea Furlan led a team that provided the research evidence behind five of the nine recommendations in the new WHO guidelines.

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Health-care providers face workers’ compensation challenges when dealing with complex injuries: IWH study

Most health-care providers, when treating acute and visible injuries, find the workers’ compensation system and return-to-work process relatively straightforward. But when treating patients with gradual onset, invisible or complex conditions, the challenges can be many. A new study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) examines the challenges from the perspectives of health-care providers and case managers in four provinces. Dr. Agnieszka Kosny shared the findings at a recent plenary and in an At Work article, now online.

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New video looks at the success of the DASH

In the early 1990s, there was a growing recognition of the need for patient-reported outcome measures for musculoskeletal conditions and injuries affecting the upper limb—the arm, shoulder or hand. That was why a team at the Institute for Work & Health and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons developed the DASH Outcome Measure. Twenty years later, the DASH is used across the world in more than 50 languages. Its impact is felt in both research and clinical settings. In this video, DASH developers talk about why they think it's stood the test of time.

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Cochrane Back and Neck review finds yoga may help people with chronic low-back pain

Low-back pain is a common health problem, sometimes lasting for longer than three months in what’s called “chronic” pain. A new review by Cochrane Back and Neck, housed at the Institute, looks at yoga for treating this condition. It finds moderate evidence that yoga is more effective than non-exercise controls for back-related functioning at six months, and for pain at three to four months.

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