Jack Callaghan

Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention

Tier 1 - 2012-10-01
Renewed: 2019-05-01
University of Waterloo
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

519-888-4567, ext./poste 37080

Research involves

Studying the response of the lumbar spine to various repetitive loads as a way to prevent low-back injury and pain.

Research relevance

This research will help set exposure limits for factors that cause low-back pain, and improve tools to prevent low-back injuries.

How to Prevent Low-back Pain

Low-back injuries are a major social and economic issue for Canadians and for industrial productivity. It is a condition that affects about 80 per cent of people at some point in their lives, and results in a huge amount of work absences and loss of enjoyment of life. The lower back is the body’s most frequently injured area and injury to it is considered by the World Health Organization, one of the top three occupational health problems.

Everyday tasks such as prolonged standing or sitting have been linked to low-back pain, yet there has been little research on how these common sedentary exposures cause injury. Cumulative (or repetitive) loading also appears to be a likely cause for back injuries that are not identifiable with a single event. But, once again, scant research has been done to define the biological pathways of pain development through exposure to accumulated loading on the low back.

Dr. Jack Callaghan, Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention, is examining lumbar spine tissues and is conducting human studies to understand how exposure to a variety of factors initiate and exacerbate low-back injuries. He will then develop methods to assess daily loading on the back and to set workplace exposure limits as preventative measures.

Callaghan’s research will lead to improved treatment for existing low-back pain sufferers, and will improve workplace standards for preventing low-back injuries.