Heather Gray

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I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Learning, Teaching and Quality Lead at Glasgow Caledonian University, as well as being a Researcher at the University of Glasgow. I am also the Research Officer for the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics. Other work in which I am involved is as an Educational Consultant with NHS Education for Scotland. Prior to moving into academia I worked in the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland as a physiotherapist for 11 years.

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Return to work practices for musculoskeletal and mental health conditions

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Heather Gray summarises a review of best practice in work absence management and return to work programmes for people with musculoskeletal and mental health conditions.

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CBT based strategies, physiotherapy and low back pain

Goldfish jumps out of bowl

Can CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) based treatment strategies be delivered by physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals? Heather Gray reports on a systematic review.

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Patients who display protective pain behaviors are viewed as less likely to return to work

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If you see someone rubbing his back after lifting something or holding it while moving from a sitting to standing position what are your thoughts? Would you consider that this type of behaviour would influence your rating of a patient’s level of pain and ability to return to work? These types of actions can be [read the full story…]

The prognosis of acute and persistent low-back pain: a meta-analysis

curved arrows

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the main reasons for people consulting their general practitioner and seeking treatment from a physiotherapist. The provision of accurate advice on the recovery for LBP is an important feature of any consultation, yet there is disagreement as to its prognosis. Therefore, it was with great interest that I [read the full story…]

A systematic review of motivational interviewing within musculoskeletal health

Can through a magnifying glass

As you’ve probably gathered by now, we Musculoskeletal Elves are pretty keen to promote psychosocial interventions in the management of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In a previous post I looked at behavioural change interventions, such as, motivational interviewing (MI) with individuals with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. But how effective is MI,  as ‘‘a directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by [read the full story…]

Telephone coaching can increase activity levels for people with non-chronic low back pain: a randomised controlled trial

Hanging telephones

In my last blog I emphasised the importance of addressing recovery expectations during treatment sessions with individuals with low back pain (LBP) and highlighted a simple screening instrument. However, the question remains, if a person has ‘low scoring’ recovery expectations how can we go about helping them? With that question in mind, I was delighted [read the full story…]

Recovery expectations predict absence from work due to chronic low back pain: a systematic review

Job satisfaction

In the low back pain (LBP) research there has been quite an interest in recent years as to which psychosocial factors are the most predictive of a poor outcome, both in terms of activity limitations and work absence. A systematic review by Iles et al (2009) showed that recovery expectations measured within three weeks of the onset [read the full story…]

Are non-pharmacological interventions effective in the management of work disability in rheumatic conditions?

man with checklist

In recent years workforce participation among individuals with rheumatic diseases has received considerable research attention, particularly with an ageing population who will be expected to stay at work longer. Therefore, a review by Gignac et al (2012) in Best Practice and Research Clinical Rheumatology on the effectiveness of a range of non-pharmacological interventions in managing work [read the full story…]

The effectiveness of graded activity in patients with non-specific low-back pain: a systematic review

Man running up gradients

Today sees the opening of the Physiotherapy UK Conference, which is the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s new flagship annual event. Unsurprisingly, the programme in the musculoskeletal theme contains several presentations related to back pain. Seeing as this is still back pain week, I thought that I would continue from my previous blog about Yellow Flags and focus [read the full story…]

Targeted interventions for Yellow Flags in persistent low back pain: a systematic review

Target man

Seeing as it is World Mental Health Day today, with its theme “Depression: a Global Crisis”, I thought that it would be appropriate to blog on psychosocial rather than physical interventions; particularly as persistent non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) can result in heightened anxiety, stress and depression. Furthermore, there is an increasing body of evidence that psychosocial risk [read the full story…]