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    International Spine Research Foundation Event in Antwerp Is Huge Success

    International Spine Research Conference Brings Chiropractors and Physicians Together in Belgium

    ANTWERP, Belgium – March 3, 2014 - Over one-hundred chiropractors from the Netherlands, Belgium, and elsewhere in Europe convened with Physicians and other health care providers for a Day of the Spine Conference in Antwerp, on March 1, 2004.   Co-sponsored by the European Chiropractors Union together with the Belgian Chiropractors Union and the Netherlands Chiropractic Association, the conference was hosted by the non-profit International Spine Research (INSPIRE) Foundation who has hosted similar events around the world as part of its mission.  INSPIRE Directors, Dr. Chris Colloca, a chiropractor from Phoenix, Arizona (USA), Robert Gunzburg, MD, PhD a practicing spine surgeon from Antwerp, Belgium, and Marek Szpalski, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Brussels co-chaired the event.

    The multi-disciplinary faculty for the Day of the Spine brought together different perspectives in patient management and the evidence base from basic sciences and clinical outcome studies (Table 1).  Dr. Chris Colloca opened the meeting with a welcome and review of the Foundations’ mission before introducing the day’s agenda.  Belgian chiropractor, Luc Ailliet, DC who is finishing his PhD at the University of Amsterdam, gave an informed lecture on the evidence base of spinal manipulation highlighting the systematic reviews and meta-analyses that are prominent today and were non-existent just 25 years ago.  Dr. Tammy Rubinstein de Koekkoek, also a chiropractor practicing in the Netherlands provided her perspectives of evidence-based practice and multi-disciplinary practice guidelines that will help chiropractic’s integration into the health care system in Belgium and the Netherlands.

    The morning session continued with lectures from Teddy Oosterhuis, MSc from the University of Amsterdam who shared her PhD work into the effectiveness of rehabilitation after Discectomy.  While promising, a lack of evidence in the research base was identified with a need for more randomized controlled trials to improve the evidence base.  Alan Breen, DC, PhD from the Anglo-European Chiropractic College next provided insights into his latest research into measuring vertebral motions using video floursosopy.

    Neurosurgeon and epidemiologist, Wilco Peul, MD, PhD from the University of Leiden offered the latest statistics on international variations in spinal surgery indicating up to a ten-fold variation between western nations.  The USA had the highest back surgery rates, whereas the UK had one of the lowest.  A relationship was found among the population of population of spine surgeons and the incidence of back surgery.  Dr. Peul went on to present his recently published randomized controlled clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and British Medical Journal that evaluated outcomes in patients with chronic sciatica having spinal surgery early or having prolonged conservative care.  In nearly 300 participants in the trial, 141 had early surgery, within 2 weeks of their presentation to the surgeon, and 142 who received conservative care for 15 weeks prior to having surgery.  The significant benefit in pain relief and functional improvement that was observed in the early surgery group within the first six months was found to be short-lived as when compared to those having prolonged conservative treatment there was no difference in outcome at six months, one year, or two years of delaying surgery.

    Local spine surgeons from Belgium, Dr. Robert Gunzburg and Dr. Marek Szpalski, Deputy Editors from the European Spine Journal, presented the group with indications for spine surgery and an update on the latest advances in new technologies in spinal surgery.  Failure rates of disc replacements and other implanted devices were presented demonstrating their ineffectiveness.  Dr. Szpalski stated, “Spine surgery seems to stimulate creative skills of surgeons and engineers more than any other field of orthopedic surgery, however may promising ideas on paper become major disappointments in practice.”


    Dr. Chris Colloca, a chiropractor from Phoenix, Arizona, presented an overview of the research that he and his multi-disciplinary team have conducted over the past fifteen years culminating in over 50 scientific journal articles.  In this work, new techniques have been validated to quantify the dynamic stiffness of the spine and this information used as an objective biomechanical outcome measure to evaluate the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments. New medical devices have been made available for computer-aided spinal manipulation (and chiropractic adjustments) that control the force and frequency of thrusts providing repeatable forces that target the spine’s resonant frequency for more efficient treatments.

    Following the eight scientific sessions, a panel discussion was held on the topic of medical and chiropractic perspectives surrounding the development and establishment of the chiropractic profession in Europe. Of the INSPIRE course’s benefit, Belgian Chiropractors’ Union Vice President, Bart Vandendries  stated, “Big things happen from small starting places.”  Future INSPIRE Conferences will be held in Europe and other parts of the world.

    Table 1.  Faculty, affiliations, and lecture titles for the Day of the Spine Conference, Antwerp, Belgium.



    Lecture Title

    Luc Ailliet, DC

    Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The EMGO Institute for Health Research at the Vrije Unversiteit Amsterdam, Private Practice of Chiropractic, Ghent, Belgium

    Evidence on Spinal Manipulation

    Tammy Rubinstein - de Koekkoek, DC

    Private Practice of Chiropractic, Soest, The Netherlands

    The Role of Chiropractic in Spinal Care

    Teddy Oosterhuis, MSc

    Dept of Health Sciences, EMGO Institute for Health Care Research, VU University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Rehabilitation After Discectomy

    Wilco Peul, MD, PhD

    Neurosurgeon and Epidemiologist, Professor of Neurosurgery at the Leids University Medical Center

    Treatment of the Herniated Disc.  What Will Be The Gold Standard in 2020?

    Alan Breen, DC, PhD

    Institute for Musculoskeletal Research and Clinical Implementation, Anglo-European Chiropractic College, Bournemouth, UK

    Advances in Quantifying Dynamic Vertebral Motions

    Marek Szpalski, MD

    Head, Dept. of Orthopedics, South IRIS Hospitals, Brussels, Belgium

    Are New Surgical Techniques Also Relevant?

    Robert Gunzburg, MD, PhD

    Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery, Edith Cavell Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

    Surgical Indications in Spine Surgery

    Christopher J. Colloca, DC

    PhD Kinesiology Program, College of Nutrition and Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ USA

    Neuromechanical Responses of Spinal Manipulation, Dynamic Spinal Stiffness Assessment and the Development of Computer Assisted Adjusting

    Panel Discussion

    The Establishment and Development of the Chiropractic Profession in Europe:  Perspectives of the Chiropractic and Medical Community


    About INSPIRE – The International Spine Research (INSPIRE) Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose aim is to raise funds to support scientific research for the purpose of advancing the understanding of spinal related disorders and improving patient care.  More information can be found at



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