Aoife Synott

Aoife Synott

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Qualifications: BSc. Physiotherapy

The aim of this research is to develop key stakeholder informed summaries that aim to improve work participation among people with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are a group of disorders that affect the body’s bones, joints, muscles and the tissues that connect them. MSDs are extremely common and include arthritis and back pain.

People with MSDs frequently have high rates of sick leave from work and often stop working altogether. Research has shown that employment is important for people’s physical and mental health. Long term unemployment is associated with poverty, social exclusion, poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life. When people with MSDs leave work, or are on sick leave from work, the economic costs including Social Protection payments are significant. International research indicates that early intervention (ideally before job loss) and crossdisciplinary collaboration amongst employers, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders involved in work can reduce the numbers of people with MSDs leaving work. However, previous research has shown that many of the stakeholders that should play a key role in maintaining employees in work are often unaware of what their role involves in trying to do just this.

While much is known from international studies about how to prevent people with MSDs leaving the workforce, little is known about the views or beliefs of the key stakeholders involved in the return to or retention of work in Ireland.

Throughout this PhD project I will interview a range of Irish stakeholders including patients with MSDs (currently in or out of work), health practitioners, employers and other key stakeholders involved in the return to work process to explore their attitudes, beliefs and experiences of work rehabilitation with the view of creating synthesised summaries for relevant stakeholders on how best to support people with MSDs in employment.

-      Professional Memberships: Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

-        Publications (if any):

Synnott, A., O’Keeffe, M., Bunzli, S., O'Sullivan, P. and O'Sullivan, K. (2015) 'Physiotherapists may stigmatise or feel unprepared to treat people with low back pain and psychosocial factors that influence recovery: a systematic review', Journal of Physiotherapy, 2(61), 68-76. Impact Factor: 3.708

 Synnott, A., O’Keeffe, M., Bunzli, S.,O'Sullivan, P., Robinson, K. and O'Sullivan, K. (xxxx) Treating more than just the back in Chronic Low Back Pain: The physiotherapists’ perspective after intensive biopsychosocial training”, Journal of Physiotherapy, (article in press)


Research Area: 
Work participation amongst people with musculoskeletal disorders