By Nicole Kobie
Do you think the hard benches, tiny desks and uncomfortable chairs at the University of Calgary are bad for your back? Fear not. U of C has just been awarded Canada’s first ever chiropractic chair and it’s not quite what it sounds.
Dr. Greg Kawchuk, Senior Chiropractor and Director of Chiropractic Residencies at University Health Services, was awarded Canada’s first chiropractic research chair. While only recently named one of the top 20 chiropractic leaders under 40 by the Chiropractic Business Magazine, Kawchuk is a long time fan of the profession.
"When I was a kid I had migraines and didn’t receive any help from traditional forms [of medicine]," Kawchuk said. "So my parents, as a last resort, took me to a chiropractor and that did the trick."
Migraines, to the dismay of many, will not be the focus of the research. The three main areas of concentration will be treatment dosage, outcomes and complications. The second area is Kawchuk’s area of expertise.
"Ninety per cent of lower back conditions cannot be diagnosed definitively," he said. "My interest is in developing tools to help solve that problem."
One major problem the profession faces is credibility, something many complementary medicines must eventually deal with. However, the research chair was not created solely to legitimize chiropractic medicine.
"It wasn’t a specific attempt," said Kawchuk, who holds a Masters in biomechanics and a PhD in bioengineering from the U of C.
Research positions were also created for diabetes and arthritis societies.
"That in itself is very validating, to be included with all those other interest groups for specific diseases or concerns," said Kawchuk. "That shows a lot about the credibility and how far the research has come for the chiropractic profession."
Supported by the Federal Government, the five-year position covers both Kawchuk’s salary and operating grant, consisting of an undisclosed amount of money. Kawchuk will also be made an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, where he will act as the Faculty Course Coordinator of undergraduate Human Anatomy.