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Dr Neil O'Connell
Reader - Physiotherapy

Mary Seacole 3rd Floor-Bay 19


Neil is a Reader in the Physiotherapy Division of the Department of Health 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 was the Co-ordinating editor for the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPaS) group from 2020-23 and is a member of Cochrane's central editorial board. 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. Neil is the current Chair of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Methods, Evidence Synthesis and Implementation Special Interest Group (MESIGIG).


PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCert


Committee Responsibilities:

Department lead for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework exercise

Department Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Departm,ent Director for Research

Administration Responsibilities:

Module Leader:

PH5640 Research Methods for Health Sciences

PH5603 Quantitative Methods and Design for Health Science Research

External Activities:

Co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPaS) review group 2020-23

Member of NICE Centre for Guidelines, Expert Advisors Panel

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 archives can be found here: 

Teaching Interests:

Chronic pain, evidence based practice, research methods, musculoskeletal physiotherapy

Newest selected publications

Nascimento Leita, M., Kamper, SJ., O'Connell, NE., Michaleff, ZA., Fisher, E., Viana Silva, P., et al. (2023) 'Physical activity and education about physical activity for chronic musculoskeletal pain in children and adolescents'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7 (CD013527). pp. 1 - 54. ISSN: 1465-1858 Open Access Link

Journal article

OConnell, NE., Moore, RA., Stewart, G., Fisher, E., Hearn, L., Eccleston, C., et al. (2023) 'Trials we cannot trust: investigating their impact on systematic reviews and clinical guidelines in spinal pain'. Journal of Pain, 0 (in press, pre-proof). pp. 1 - 50. ISSN: 1526-5900 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ferraro, MC., Cashin, AJ., Wand, BM., Smart, KM., Berryman, C., Marston, L., et al. (2023) 'Interventions for treating pain and disability in adults with complex regional pain syndrome- an overview of systematic reviews'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2023 (6). pp. CD009416. ISSN: 1465-1858 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ferraro, MC., Moore, RA., Williams, ACDC., Fisher, E., Stewart, G., Ferguson, MC., et al. (2023) 'Characteristics of retracted publications related to pain research: a systematic review'. Pain, 0 (accepted, in press). pp. 1 - 22. ISSN: 0304-3959 Open Access Link

Journal article

Wewege, MA., Bagg, MK., Jones, MD., Ferraro, MC., Cashin, AG., Rizzo, RRN., et al. (2023) 'Comparative effectiveness and safety of analgesic medicines for adults with non-specific acute low back pain: systematic review and network meta-analysis'. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 380 (8376). pp. 1 - 15. ISSN: 1759-2151 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(92)