Research group MATRix (MAnual Therapy Research)

Our research group investigates diagnosis, manual treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain, mainly spinal pain.
We explore methods for prediction of treatment success, use frequently repeated measures for follow-up and study effect and cost-effectiveness of preventive interventions.

Ongoing research projects:

SPARC: Spinal Pain and Autonomic Responses to Chiropractic Care

This study investigates the effect of manual treatment on heart rate variability. It is a multi-center randomized study of patients with persistent neck pain. In addition, we are testing Conditioned Pain Modulation as a prediction test for treatment success in this patient population.

BACE: Back Complaints in Elders

This is a study of people over 55 years with low back pain seeking chiropractic care to investigate the course of pain and disability in this age group.  It is a longitudinal observational study with parallel arms in the Netherlands, England and Australia.

The Nordic Maintenance Care Program:

This research program started in 2008 and includes a description, effect evaluation, cost effectiveness evaluation and implementation of preventive manual care for patients with recurrent and persistent low back pain.

Prevention of recurrent and persistent low back pain

Development of a maintenance care instrument (MAINTAIN)

Corona And Manual Professions - CAMP 

In the CAMP (Corona And Manual Professions) study, the impact of the Corona pandemic on the manual therapists in Sweden will be examined. Specifically, the impact on their health, work environment and economy will be investigated. A survey will be sent to all chiropractors and naprapaths in September 2020, with follow-ups in January, March and September 2021. 


Galaasen Bakken A, Axén I, Eklund A, O'Neill S (2019). The effect of spinal manipulative therapy on heart rate variability and pain in patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2019 Oct 12;20(1):590. doi: 10.1186/s13063-019-3678-8.

Eklund A, Jensen I, Leboeuf-Yde C, Kongsted A, Jonsson M, et al. (2019) The Nordic Maintenance Care Program: Does psychological profile modify the treatment effect of a preventive manual therapy intervention? A secondary analysis of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE 14(10): e0223349.

Eklund A, Jensen I, Lohela-Karlsson M, Hagberg J, Leboeuf-Yde C, Kongsted A, BodinL, Axén I (2018). The Nordic Maintenance Care program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain—A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2018 Sep 12;13(9):e0203029. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203029. eCollection 2018.

Reasearch group leader

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Iben Axén

Principal Researcher


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Andreas Eklund

Assistant Professor
Content reviewer:
Anna Frantz