Current & Past Projects

CCRF invests in evidence-based research to cost-effectively improve health outcomes for the over 11,000,000 Canadians living with musculoskeletal pain and disability.

Thanks to the generosity of our funders and our league of clinicians and private supporters, CCRF is proud to have invested over $580,000 in these research projects:

Spring 2020​

Status: Awarded $63,000

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


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.

Status: Awarded $10,000

Title: Advancing the conceptualization and assessment of pain-related suffering

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.


Status: Awarded $44,000

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

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.

Status: Awarded $16,000

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


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.


Status: Awarded $5,000

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


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.


Status: Awarded $52,000

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

Status: In Progress

Title: Reducing wait times, opioid prescriptions and imaging rates for acute and chronic spine pain patients: A university-hospital based chiropractic clinic implementation project.


1) Determine potential barriers to managing spine pain patients without opioid medication and spine imaging prescriptions;

2) the factors related to referring these patients to hospital-based chiropractic care

3) to evaluate the impact of knowledge translation (KT) interventions combined with guideline informed chiropractic care on reducing ED and SAC opioid medication and diagnostic imaging prescriptions, ED wait-time, and patient health outcomes.

Chief Investigator: Dr. Steven Passmore Hons BKin, MS, DC, PhD

Award: $250,000 CAD over 3 years


Status: In Progress


Title: Understanding health care utilization for musculoskeletal disorders and disability in Canada: A population-based perspective.



1) Determine which health care providers Canadians consult to manage MSK pain

2) describe the characteristics of Canadians who consult different types of health providers for MSK disorders and disability.

Chief Investigator: Dr. Pierre Côté, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ontario Tech University, and Centre for Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation at OTU and CMCC

Award: $59,548 CAD


Status: In Progress

Title: Advancing Patient Safety for Special Populations: Active Surveillance Reporting to Identify Adverse Events Following Chiropractic Care in Older Adults


Goal: This 3-part study will investigate changes in symptoms reported by older adults receiving chiropractic care, with a focus on safety.


Chief Investigators: Dr. Martha Funabashi BSc, MSc, PhD Clinical Research Scientist and Assistant Professor CMCC, Toronto, Ontario and Dr. Katharine Pohlman, Director of Research, Parker University, Dallas, Texas, USA


Award: $50,000 CAD


Status: In Progress


Title: Operationalizing ‘whole person’ pain care


Goal: To develop practical evidence-based resources, including a collection of whole patient care principles, themes, and strategies clinicians can use when interacting with their patients experiencing pain.

Chief Investigator: Dr. Peter Stilwell, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia


Award: $25,000 CAD



2000 to 2017

Chiropractic Research Chair and Scholarship Program
CCRF backed research teams have been established on Canada’s most prestigious campuses, publishing
findings in recognized medical journals while building strong ties with colleagues in adjacent health care

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