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Edel O’Hagan


PhD candidate

+61 2 9399 1618

Edel O’Hagan is an experienced clinical physiotherapist and early career researcher. Her clinical career over 15 years has included roles the public and private settings in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. Edel completed her Research Masters at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Sydney in 2016 with Dr James McAuley and Dr Markus Huebscher.  Edel’s research includes the first systematic review of hypnotics for postoperative pain, which identified that hypnotics should be considered for the management of postoperative pain. She completed a cohort study which has shown that reduced slow wave sleep (SWS) is associated with subsequent high pain intensity and worse sleep quality for the same night. She conducted a pilot randomised controlled trial of a hypnotic for acute low back pain which identified recruitment barriers to address in a large trial.

Edel’s research has presented at national (APS) and major international conferences (International Low Back and Neck Pain Forum, International Association for the Study of Pain).

Her more recent research concerns the attitudes and beliefs of health care professionals and the general public toward treatment selection in patients presenting with low back pain.

Edel is a part of the organising committee for SPRiNG, Sydney Pain Researchers: the Next Generation.

Projects Edel O’Hagan is currently involved with


Medicines for Back Pain

Medicines are a common treatment for back pain. The aim of this program of research is to improve our understanding of the clinical effects of medicines. Several studies constitute this program. 
1. A scoping review of analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain
The objective of this study is to identify the available clinical trials of medicines for chronic low back pain.  
This information will contribute to the methodology of Study 3. 
2. Evaluation of the impact of unpublished data from clinical trial registries on the effects of medicines for low back pain. 
The objective of this study is to evaluate whether there is a difference between clinical trial data that are published and those that are not published. 
This information will contribute to the methodology of Study 3. 
3. Paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis. 
The objective of this study is to produce information about the clinical effects of available analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain. This information will be available in a Cochrane review to assist clinical prescription of medicines.
Related Publications: 
Bagg MK et al. (2018). Paracetamol, NSAIDS and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis [Protocol]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 6.doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013045


Medicines for Back Pain

Social Media for Low Back Pain

Social media is a potentially powerful tool to provide a message of education and reassurance to the general public about low back pain. This project will use social media to educate the general public about low back pain and promote self-management.

The project involves three stages. Firstly, we will conduct a content analysis to gain an insight into social media users’ perceptions and understanding about low back pain. This could determine whether social media could serve as an educational tool through which accurate information related to low back pain could be disseminated to the public.

Second, a recent Delphi survey of 150 low back pain researchers identified 30 key messages considered to be important for the general public to know about LBP. These statements provide evidence-based information on the diagnosis, prognosis and management of LBP and are intended to educate, reassure and promote self-management. We will investigate the attitude of the general public towards these messages.

Third, working in conjunction with a media company Y&R, we will design and test a social media campaign to encourage self-management for people with low back pain.


Social Media for Low Back Pain

RESOLVE Trial for Chronic Low Back Pain

For people with long term back pain that is not getting better. We are testing two pain treatment programs that target the brain, for people with chronic low back pain.


RESOLVE Trial for Chronic Low Back Pain


For people with back pain who are having trouble with their sleep. We are testing whether a simple sleep tablet will help people reduce their pain and sleep better.





THIAGO FOLLY Research Assistant

ANIKA HAIGH Research Assistant

PAULINE ZAHARA Research Assistant

IAN SKINNER Postdoctoral Fellow : 9399 1049
: i.skinner@neura.edu.au


DR HOPIN LEE PhD Candidate

Markus Hubscher

DR MARKUS HUEBSCHER Postdoctoral Fellow


Reassurance for patients with non-specific conditions - a user's guide.

Traeger AC, O'Hagan ET, Cashin A, McAuley JH

Targeted reassurance, including enhanced, prognosis-specific education, could optimize reassurance and possibly prevent disabling symptoms.

Reviews may overestimate the effectiveness of medicines for back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Bagg MK, O'Hagan E, Zahara P, Wand BM, Hübscher M, Moseley GL, McAuley JH

Systematic-reviews of analgesics for low back pain generally include published data only. Obtaining data from unpublished trials is potentially important because they may impact effect sizes in meta-analyses. We determined whether including unpublished data from trial registries changes the effect sizes in meta-analyses of analgesics for low back pain. Systematic-reviews should include reports of unpublished trials. The result for muscle relaxants conflicts with the conclusion of the published review and recent international guidelines. Adding unpublished data strengthens the evidence that opioid analgesics have small effects on persistent low back pain and more clearly suggests these effects may not be clinically meaningful.

Does Disordered Sleep Moderate the Relationship Between Pain, Disability and Downstream Health Care Utilization in Patients With Low Back Pain?: A Longitudinal Cohort From the US Military Health System.

Rhon DI, O'Hagan E, Mysliwiec V, Lentz TA

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of disordered sleep on the relationship between pain and health care utilization (HCU) and pain-related disability and HCU in individuals with low back pain (LBP). Higher pain intensity and disability predicted higher pain-related HCU in the year following a LBP self-management class. The presence of a sleep disorder diagnosis, as recorded in medical records, had a significant independent effect on LBP-related health care visits and costs beyond the influences of pain intensity, disability, and other key demographic and health-related characteristics, but did not moderate these relationships.

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