Research Group

Painful conditions in the musculoskeletal system

Head: Cecilie Røe

The goal of this research unit is to develop knowledge within diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation of painful conditions, with a focus on neck, back and shoulders. Furthermore, this unit has developed and evaluated rehabilitation models for sub acromial pain conditions (The Ulleval model). Three PhD students have defended their thesis over the last three years, and two PhD students currently focus on different aspects of painful shoulder conditions.

The group is currently working on mapping the underlying mechanisms for the development of long-term pain conditions. In order to succeed in the research, this unit puts a heavy emphasis on combining a wide range of competencies within the areas of psychology, genetics and physiology. This emphasis may be exemplified with the current multi-center study "Genetic vulnerability of the development of chronic sciatica".

Alongside this, the unit stresses the importance of having a thorough mapping of factors that are promoting societal activity and participation of individuals with painful conditions in the musculoskeletal system, making the development of effective rehabilitation strategies to reduce sick leaves and disability an important area of focus. The unit has established collaborations with the occupational medicine network, which may be illustrated in the project "Promoting and inhibiting factors and effect of intervention on return to work of neck- and back pain patients". Implemented in this project is also a qualitative study focusing on understanding the mechanisms facilitating the return to work. At the basis of these research projects lies an establishment of a national quality register comprising neck- and back pain and a local register comprising musculoskeletal pain conditions. Collaboration with the Research Centre for Habilitation and Rehabilitation Models & Services (CHARM) is established in order to develop methodology for collaboration between different societal areas and evaluate the cost effectiveness of such models in the field of sickness absence and return to work.

Alongside this, we have established collaborations with the Health Directorate and the WHO and ICF Research Branch in Munchen in order to facilitate a methodological development allowing for a better evaluation and classification in relations to activity and participation levels. These methods are being developed in a cross-cultural manner, in order to allow for a standardized evaluation and facilitating comparisons across cultures. Currently, our department is working on a PhD in collaboration with Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, aiming to identify a functioning profile of different shoulder disabilities within an ICF perspective. Finally, the patients expectations and their opinion is of utterly importance to successful rehabilitation and will be focused in a student PhD project.

Ongoing multi centre, postdoc and PhD projects:

  • Genetic vulnerability of chronic sciatica. Head of project Cecilie Røe; PhD fellow Elina Iordanova.
  • Promoting and inhibiting factors and effect of rehabilitation for return to work. Head of project Erik Bautz-Holter; PhD fellows Kjersti Myhre and Gunn Hege Marchand; Postdoctor Halvor Hanisch.
  • Low back pain, workplace absenteeism and disability pensioning - the interaction between type of occupation, psychosocial risk factors and genetic susceptibility. Head of the project Cecilie Røe, in collaboration with Johannes Gjerstad National Institute of Occupational Health.
  • Instability in the upper cervical columna. Head of the project Cecilie Røe; Main supervisor Nada Andelic; PhD fellow Jan Børre Johansen
  • Functioning measurements of patients with shoulder pain and international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF). Head of project Helene L. Søberg; PhD fellow Yngve Røe
  • Significance of diagnostics and effect of pressure wave treatment in addition to guided training. Head of project Erik Bautz Holter; PhD fellow Elisabeth Kvalvaag
  • An investigation of neck/back and shoulder patients expectations to treatment outcome, regarding pain-reduction and functional improvements. Head of the project Lars Petter Granan; PhD student Sigrid Skatteboe.