Research in back pain lands a Laurier researcher the Polanyi prize

Recently, the 2013 Polanyi Prize was given out and one of Wilfrid Laurier University’s researchers, Diane Gregory, was one of the five winners. Gregory’s research focuses on biomechanics, spine health and the lower back.

In a phone interview with The Cord, Gregory talked about what made her interested in studying lower back pain, what winning the prize meant to her, her plans for the future and more.

Gregory has been working in her field for ten years, and it’s all thanks to her graduate work she did while at the University of Guelph.

She spoke about how when she was doing her graduate work; how her supervisor was in the field, and she took a liking to not only his teaching style, but the course as well.

“I ended up doing a fourth year project with him and his research was on lower back pain and so I sort of fell into it,” she said.

She explained how with this prize, you have to set up a per-application, and then the university selects the person who’s going to go on to represent Laurier.

“I sort of left it at that thinking ‘Okay, well, at least they think I’m good enough to represent the school,’” she added.

She was surprised to find out she was awarded the Polanyi prize and noted what an honour it was that she won. Gregory said she owes some of her accomplishments to Laurier itself.

“I’m certainly at a wonderful school where research is flourishing,” she continued. “We’ve got great teachers and great students.”

Gregory also stated that another reason why she is so focused on her study is because no matter where she goes, there are generally people with lower back pain.

She plans to continue working in this field until she retires because she wants to be able to help the public and continue finding information that will be useful for them.

“There’s no perfect solution [to curing back pain]”, claimed Gregory. Her basic summary to helping with back pain is that you should try to switch up your movements so that any tissues, muscles, or ligaments that are being overused can have a break and have the chance to heal.

Gregory’s final comment; “I’m excited to be one of the Laurier researchers that have been able to win this and I think it’s great for Laurier.

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