TORONTO, September 15, 2020 — Today the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) is pleased to announce $190,000 in new funding for six research teams. These Canadian-led projects will advance the profession’s knowledge base and contribute to improved patient care.

“We are committed to investing in national, evidence-based research,” said CCRF Chair, Dr. Chad Kulak. “Momentum for our work continues to grow, bolstered by high-impact projects such as these.”

Under the direction of its volunteer Research Committee, CCRF issues semi-annual Requests For Proposals (RFPs); a general call in the spring, followed by a more focused opportunity in the fall.

“During the spring 2020 call we received over 20 impressive submissions,” said Dr. Richard McIlmoyle, Research Committee Chair. “This included applications from post doctoral and early career researchers, well established teams and international collaborations.”

“Building on the four excellent projects we were honoured to support last year, we are confident this new series of grants will continue to provide value for our researchers, practitioners and patients” Dr. Kulak added. “We also want to encourage all early career chiropractic researchers to consider applying when our next RFP is published this October.”

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The CCRF is a registered charitable organization. Tax receipts are provided for all donations.


The Effect of Cervical Spinal Manipulation on Brain Functional Connectivity Using Magnetic Resonance Neuroimaging in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain

Award: $63,000

Lead: Dr. Felipe Duarte, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Purpose: To track neuroplastic effects of a single cervical spinal manipulation – and SMT applied over time – on functional connectivity in the brains of patients with chronic neck pain.

Impact: This is the first FMRI study of its kind on the cervical spine which will provide important data needed to fill gaps in current knowledge. It’s also the first study that will measure both short and long-term effects of SMT on brain function and how these neuroplastic effects might change over time. This evidence may lead to a significant increase in credibility for the chiropractic profession. 

Advancing the conceptualization and assessment of pain-related suffering

Award: $10,000

Lead: Dr. Peter Stilwell, McGill University
Purpose: To develop research supported understanding of pain-related suffering associated with MSK conditions and identify gaps in the way current literature defines and grades pain related problems.

Impact: This study seeks to discover how patients feel their suffering is prioritized by practitioners. This will lead to a better understanding of people with painful MSK issues, address gaps related to the assessment of pain-related suffering and improve the patient experience during the initial assessment and treatment.

The Association of Chiropractic Integration with Opioid Use for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in an Ontario Health Care Centre: A Mixed Methods Study.

Award: $44,000

Lead: Dr. Peter Emary, McMaster University, Departments of Health Research Methodology; Michael J. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care
Purpose: To examine the relationship between chiropractic integration and opioid use among vulnerable patients in a Community Health Centre (CHC).

Impact: This study directly addresses one of the country’s most pressing public health crises – opioid addiction. It’s the first study of its kind to track whether the receipt of chiropractic services can reduce opioid use among patients already using prescription opioids. It also seeks to identify improvements in quality of life and other qualitative areas that may prove unique to chiropractic intervention and help validate outcomes seen in practice.

Tracking the impact of clinical care among patients with chronic lower back pain: the utility of performance-based measures of physical function and impairment

Award: $16,000

Leads: Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Purpose: To determine how specific performance-based measures correlate with disability reported by patients with chronic lower back pain.

Impact: The goal of this study is to determine whether patient assessments can be improved by adding function tests to questionnaires and to see if changes perceived by patients are supported by functional changes. This will help chiropractors assess patients more effectively and improve patient satisfaction. This team includes high level female investigators and is an international (Danish) collaboration.

Is there a correlation between NMSK disorders and breast pain in breast feeding mothers seeking chiropractic care: A case series

Award: $5,000

Lead: Dr. Chantale Doucet, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Purpose: To investigate the association between nipple pain and MSK dysfunction

Impact: The biomechanics of breastfeeding and post partum body changes are areas in need of research. In addition to providing much needed data for chiropractors and the profession, this study addresses a broader issue beyond MSK and will lay critical groundwork for future studies and trials.

Is a funded, integrated pathway for low back pain a feasible way to shift health resource utilization from low value to high value care?

Award: $52,000

Lead: Dr. Greg Kawchuk, University of Alberta
Purpose: This study seeks to compare a pathway of evidence-based treatment for patients with lower back pain against the standard of usual care.

Impact: Governments and health insurance companies spend a significant amount of money on treatment for patients with chronic lower back pain. This study seeks to discover whether providing evidence-based treatments resolves patient’s issues more effectively and reduces their cost of care. 

The CCRF would like to acknowledge the dedication of our Research Committee and thank the Canadian Chiropractic Association, our Provincial Association partners, and individual donors for their generous financial support.

About the CCRF

The Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) has been funding chiropractic research since 1976. Today, CCRF invests in national evidence-based research to improve health outcomes for the over 11,000,000 Canadians living with musculoskeletal pain and disability.


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