Close this search box.

Four new research projects working to answer tough questions

In December 2019, the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) awarded $380,000 to four Canadian teams to tackle some of the most pressing issues for people suffering with spine, muscle, and nervous system problems.

Here’s what they shared:

Dr. Pierre Côté, professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ontario Tech University (OTU) in Oshawa is researching which health care providers Canadians call on when they have spine, muscle, and nervous system problems. He and his team believe answers can be found in two Statistics Canada surveys: the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Canadian Survey on Disability.


“A national data set on the needs of our patients simply doesn’t exist,” Dr. Côté said. “This study will paint a picture of the healthcare landscape for people living with spine, muscle, and nervous system pain – and have important implications for future funding of universal healthcare in Canada.”


He hopes their findings will achieve three things:


  1. Help chiropractors improve patient care
  2. Help national and provincial chiropractic associations shape priorities, and
  3. Give government policy makers information about the people who use chiropractic and other services

2. Can chiropractic care in hospital emergency departments reduce opioid prescriptions?

Lower back pain is a major reason people visit hospital emergency departments. A number of them are then prescribed pain medication and diagnostic imaging, like MRIs. Chiropractor Dr. Steven Passmore of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and his team have a chiropractic consultation area in an emergency department to see if providing patients with chiropractic care can reduce opioid prescriptions, free up access to diagnostic imaging, improve outcomes for back patients and reduce emergency department wait times.


“Even though opioids are not considered the first treatment for non-cancer pain, most people suffering with back and neck pain receive their first exposure to opioids in the emergency department,” Dr. Passmore explains. “Our study is about getting the right treatments for the right patients at the right time.”

3. Defining Whole Person Care

Healthcare professionals know that pain – especially chronic pain – can have a significant effect on the area of affected as well the person as a whole. This has led to a new approach to pain treatment known as Whole Person Care. However, there a many definitions of Whole Person Care.


Dr. Peter Stilwell of Dalhousie University in Halifax is leading a project to Whole Person Care as it pertains to spine, muscle, and nervous system issues for chiropractors.


“This will enable practitioners to treat bodily dysfunction by appreciating and addressing the associated stress and suffering experienced by patients and by providing them with insights and resources designed to help treat all aspects of their patients’ pain experience,” Dr. Stilwell said.


The result? Patients will feel validated that their pain and other symptoms are not “just in their head” but that their problems have been fully explored, understood and that an action plan will help them move forward.

4. Tracking the impact of chiropractic care on those 50+

Are chiropractic treatments making a difference in the health of those 50+? Dr. Martha Funabashi, a clinical research scientist and assistant professor at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, and Dr. Katie Pohlman, director of Research at Parker University in Dallas, Texas, plan to change that.

They are working with chiropractic clinics and patient volunteers who use questionnaires to track the effects of chiropractic adjustments over a number of visits. This will fill in the gap on a group that represents a significant portion of the population and a growing proportion of those with spine, muscle, and nervous system issues.

“Most research is done on younger people because they’re healthy and in good physical condition. This lets researchers rule out variables that may affect results,” Dr. Pohlman said. “Older patients have different metabolisms, their bodies work differently and they’re likely to suffer with chronic diseases or other conditions, which is why they’re seeking chiropractic care in the first place.”

“This study will help fill a huge information gap by giving us better information to better educate and manage patients’ expectations and they can make better decisions around their own treatment,” Dr. Funabashi added.

When you support the CCRF, you fund high-impact research project like these to improve patient care. Make a difference by donating here.

Sign up to
hear from us

Talk to Us

Have a comment or question?

Research news to share?

Something we missed?