Dr. Jeffrey Hebert

DC, PhD, University of New Brunswick (UNB)
  • 2017-2021 CCRF/New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) Research Chair
    in Musculoskeletal Health


Dr. Hebert is researching how musculoskeletal (MSk) disorders (primarily back pain) relate to other diseases that develop over the lifespan of an individual—particularly cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“As health researchers, we usually attempt to undertake research with the largest potential to benefit society. Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of mortality worldwide, while back pain is the largest source of disability. Therefore, it is important to understand how these diseases relate to each other and attempt to identify what could be responsible for these links.”  – Dr. Jeff Hebert

Physical Activity, Back Pain and Major Disease

Dr. Hebert is also investigating the role of health-related physical activity behaviour in these relationships. We already know that a lack of physical activity is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We also know that many musculoskeletal diseases (e.g., spinal stenosis) impact people’s abilities to be physically active. Therefore, Dr. Hebert is interested in whether we should view MSk disorders as a gateway to the development of more serious diseases like cardiovascular disease.

“As chiropractors, if we solely focus on pain and disability, I think we’re missing opportunities to improve people’s lives in the long-term. Systematically inquiring about each patient’s physical activity behaviour and providing appropriate advice (e.g., physical activity counselling) should become the standard of care for patients with MSk disorders.” – Dr. Jeff Hebert


‘Exercise is medicine’ has become a common refrain and this approach represents an important opportunity for chiropractors.

If we can understand if MSk diseases put patients at risk for other serious health challenges, that could position chiropractors to have a bigger impact on patient lives. In the future, instead of just fixing pain, evidence may indicate that we need to start talking about changing key health behaviours such as physical activity.

“I’m most excited about answering these research questions in a way that can inform clinical practice.” – Dr. Jeff Hebert

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