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New research underscores importance of World Spine Day

October 12, 2021 – The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is preparing to mark World Spine Day on October 16, 2021, and is highlighting a new research paper that reinforces the economic and social burden of chronic back pain. Dr. Jessica Wong is the lead author of a study that showed adults experiencing back pain had double the rate of medical visits, and a 20% increase in medical costs compared to those not experiencing back paini. Reinforced with compelling new research like this, World Spine Day remains an important way of raising awareness about this global health issue.

World Spine Day was begun in 2008 by the World Federation of Chiropractic as an initiative to raise awareness around the prevention and effective management of spinal conditions. This year’s global theme, #Back2Back, encourages people to reengage with healthy physical activity.

According to the World Health Organization, back pain is the leading cause of disability globally, and at any given moment effects 577 million people worldwide, including 11 million Canadians. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic cost of musculoskeletal conditions in Canada was an estimated $22 billion annually. An estimated 85% of workers will experience back pain at some point in their life, and musculoskeletal issues are the number one reason for lost time at work in Canada.

A new study published by the International Association for the Study of Pain, by Dr. Jessica Wong, Dr. Pierre Côté, Dr. Andrea Tricco, Mr. Tristan Watson, and Dr. Laura Rosella examined the burden that back pain places on our healthcare system and finances. In Ontario, each year back pain resulted in an estimated 589,511 medical visits, and a cost to taxpayers of $759 millioni. The study’s final recommendation is that given the substantial health and economic burden, new strategies to reduce the healthcare utilization and costs associated with back problems are warranted.

Chiropractors can play an important role in the proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of back pain. In time for World Spine Day, the Canadian Chiropractic Association has launched its ‘A Chiro Was Here’ campaign. This social media campaign includes short videos of patients demonstrating how chiropractic treatment has helped them to return to doing what they love, with testimony from the everyday Canadians to professional athletes, including members of Canada’s Olympic track team.

#AChiroWasHere continues throughout October and November and the public are invited to film and share their submissions here.

“This World Spine Day let us all think about how we take care of our bodies and start healthy active habits,” said Alison Dantas, CEO of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. “New research continues to demonstrate the need to address the gaps in our healthcare system. If allied health professionals can help reduce physician visits, reduce costs, and improve quality of care, that is a win for everyone.”

Subject matter experts available for interview.


Issue Background:

  • Musculoskeletal work-related disorders are the number one reason for lost-time work injury, accounting for 40 per cent of all lost-time claims.ii
  • Each year, more than 11 million Canadians suffer from back, neck and joint pain – musculoskeletal conditions – and over the next decade this number is projected to grow to an alarming 15 million.iii
  • A recent Institute for Employment Studies survey found that more than half of the employees working remotely due to the pandemic reported a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints.iv

Media Contact:
Brad Lepp, Director of Public Affairs


i Wong, J.J. et al., Effect of back problems on healthcare utilization and costs in Ontario, Canada: a population-based matched cohort study, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002239 
ii Crawford JO et al., Musculoskeletal health in the workplace, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 
iii Canadian Institute of Health Research, IMHA Strategic Plan 2014-2018: Enhancing Musculoskeletal, Skin and Oral Health, 
iv Bevan S, Mason B, Bajorek Z, IES Working at Home Wellbeing Survey, Institute for Employment Studies (IES) | Apr 2020. 
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