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Introduction to the rehabilitation research group

The Centre for Rehabilitation Research in Oxford (RRIO) is part of the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) at University of Oxford.

We are leading research into how exercise and physiotherapy can be used to support the rehabilitation of patients with acute musculoskeletal injures such as a fracture or sprain, and patients with chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or persistent back pain. We look at how structured physical activity can be offered as an effective method of rehabilitation for patients either alongside, or as an alternative to, standard medication.

There are approximately 9.6 million adults in England with musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain or arthritis. This costs the UK economy around 7.4 billion pounds a year through lost working days. There is evidence demonstrating that early intervention with physiotherapy delivers significant, cost-effective clinical improvements for these patients.

Led by Professor Sallie Lamb, RRIO is a multidisciplinary group representing a range of disciplines including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise science, cognitive behavioural therapy, health psychology, sociology and statistics. The team have significant clinical experience and expertise in a range of research methodologies. Our portfolio comprises largely of studies which evaluate complex interventions through large pragmatic randomised controlled trials, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). We work with and also receive funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC OxTV) and the Oxford Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

We are currently undertaking work on a range of projects to develop, evaluate and introduce modern therapy approaches for application in the NHS, in the UK. Our research focuses on creating effective interventions that can be utilised by health professionals and patients and our work has been instrumental in informing how national and local health care commissioners decide the best use of limited health resources. 

We collaborate with investigators from a range of clinical disciplines, both within Oxford and elsewhere, and we work closely with the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) to ensure that our evaluation of technologies is of the highest quality.