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Dr Neil OConnell

Dr Neil OConnell
Reader - Physiotherapy

Mary Seacole 3rd Floor-Bay 19


Neil is a Reader in the Physiotherapy Division of the Department of Clinical Sciences. He divides his time between teaching and research and previously worked as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. Neil's research interests focus on the evidence based management of persistent pain and he has published extensively in this area. He also leads and teaches modules on clinical research methods and evidence based practice for pre- and post-graduate clinicians.

Neil is the Co-ordinating editor for the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPaS) group and is on the editorial board on the Journal of Pain. He was a member of the Guideline Development Group for the UK's National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2016 clinical guideline on the management of low back pain and sciatica and was a specialist committee member for the NICE Quality Standard on that topic.


PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCert


Committee Responsibilities:

Physiotherapy Division lead for the Research Excellence Framework exercise

Department Diretor of Post Graduate Research Studies

Administration Responsibilities:

Module Leader:

Other Responsibilities:

  • Clinical visiting
  • Personal Tutoring

External Activities:

Co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPaS) review group.

Past member of the guideline development group for the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline "Management of  low back pain and sciatica".

Past senior commissioning editor and contributer to the science blog “Body in Mind”. This blog represents an international collaboration of researchers with an interest in chronic pain, perception and the brain and aims to present current research in a format that is accessible and fun for the lay-reader. The blog can be found here: and his blogposts here:

Teaching Interests:

Chronic pain, evidence based practice, musculoskeletal physiotherapy

Newest selected publications

Travers, MJ., O'Connell, NE., Tugwell, P., Eccleston, C. and Gibson, W. (2020) 'Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for chronic pain: the opportunity to begin again'. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4 (4). pp. ED000139. ISSN: 1469-493X

Journal article

Macrae, C., O'Connell, N., Roche, A. and Sinnett, T. (2019) 'What is the evidence for efficacy, effectiveness and safety of surgical interventions for plantar fasciopathy? Protocol for a systematic review.'. BMJ Open, 9 (10). pp. 1 - 6. ISSN: 2044-6055 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ryan, JM., Peterson, MD., Matthews, A., Ryan, N., Smith, KJ., O'Connell, NE., et al. (2019) 'Non-communicable disease among adults with cerebral palsy: A matched cohort study.'. Neurology, 93 (14). pp. e1385 - e1396. ISSN: 0028-3878 Open Access Link

Journal article

O'Connell, NE. (2019) 'Clinical management in an evidence vacuum. Pharmacological management of children with persistent pain.'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6 (6). pp. ED000135. ISSN: 1469-493X Open Access Link

Journal article

O'Connell, NE., Smith, KJ., Peterson, MD., Ryan, N., Liverani, S., Anokye, N., et al. (2019) 'Incidence of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases in adults with cerebral palsy: a population-based cohort study.'. BONE, 125. pp. 30 - 35. ISSN: 8756-3282 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(72)