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Edel O’Hagan

RESEARCHER PROFILE

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

CURRENT PROJECTS

Medicines for Back Pain

Medicines are the most common treatment for back pain. The aim of this program of research is to improve our understanding of the clinical effects of medicines.

Studies currently in progress:

  1. Scoping review of paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain (led by Matthew K Bagg). The objective of this study is to identify and describe the characteristics of available clinical trials of commonly used analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain. This information will inform the design and conduct of other studies in the research program.
  2. Paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis (led by Matthew K Bagg). 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. The protocol is published and available here.
  3. Prescribing practices of medicines for adults with low back pain: a systematic review (led by Michael Wewege). The objective of this study is to determine how different medicines are prescribed to adults with low back pain and how this differs across countries. The protocol for this study is being developed.
  4. Analgesic medicines for adults with low back pain: a network meta-analysis (led by Michael Wewege). The objective of this study is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of a range of analgesic medicines for adults across different classifications of low back pain. The protocol for this study has been submitted for publication.
  5. Muscle relaxant medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Aidan Cashin and Thiago Folly). The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of muscle relaxant medicines for adults with low back pain. The protocol is available here.
  6. Novel biologic medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Rodrigo Rizzo). The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of novel biologic medicines for adults with low back pain. The protocol is available here.

Completed studies:

  1. Evaluation of the impact of unpublished data from clinical trial registries on the effects of medicines for low back pain (led by Matthew Bagg). The objective of this study was to evaluate whether there is a difference between clinical trial data that are published and those that are not published. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.
  2. Antidepressant medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Michael Ferraro). The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of antidepressant medicines for adults with low back pain. The findings have been submitted for publication. The protocol is available here.

Medicines for Back Pain – Publications:

  • Bagg MK, McLachlan AJ, Maher CG, Kamper SJ, Williams CM, Henschke N, Wand BM, Moseley GL, Hübscher M, O’Connell NE, van Tulder MW, Nikolakopoulou A, McAuley JH. (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. PMCID: PMC6513465
  • Bagg MK, O’Hagan E, Zahara P, Wand BM, Hübscher M, Moseley GL, McAuley JH. (2020). Reviews may overestimate the effectiveness of medicines for back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. doi: 10.1016/ j.jclinepi.2019.12.006. PMID: 31816418

Medicines for Back Pain – Registrations of Study Protocols:

  • Folly T, Bagg MK, Wewege M, Ferraro MC, Schabrun S, Gustin SM, Day R, McAuley JH. (2019) UMbRELLA: Understanding efficacy and safety of Muscle RELaxant medicines for Low back pain – systematic Literature review and meta-Analysis (protocol).Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/xuw5h
  • Rizzo RN, Bagg MK, Ferraro MC, Wewege M, Cashin A, Leake HB, O’Hagan E, Jones M, McAuley JH. (2020). Efficacy and safety of medicines targeting neurotrophic factors in the management of low back pain: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/zax6d
  • Ferraro MC, Bagg MK, McAuley JH. (2019). RADICAL: Systematic Review of Anti-Depressant Medicines if Considered Analgesics for Low Back Pain (protocol). Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/cedm3

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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.

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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.

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RESOLVE Trial for Chronic Low Back Pain

SLEEPain

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.

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SLEEPain

PAIN REVOLUTION

RESEARCH TEAM

PUBLICATIONS

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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