Profile photo: Howard Vernon

Howard Vernon, PhD

Dr. Howard Vernon is a chiropractor-clinical researcher with a PhD in Chiropractic from the Dept. of Chiropractic, Glamorgan University, Wales.

Dr. Vernon is currently a Professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a 1977 graduate of this College and has been on faculty there since graduation. He received his Fellowship in Chiropractic Clinical Sciences in 1981. He was the Director of Research at the CMCC on two occasions in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He was the 1993 recipient of the Researcher of the Year from the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, the 1995 recipient of the Researcher of the Year from the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the 2012 recipient of the Researcher of the Year from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Dr. Vernon has been involved in the development of Patient-Related Outcomes (PRO) since the mid-1980’s. In 1989, he developed the world’s first PRO for self-rating of disability due to neck pain – the Neck Disability Index (NDI). The NDI has been translated into 30 languages and is currently regarded as the gold standard PRO for self-rated disability due to neck pain or whiplash.

Dr. Vernon’s research interests include: manual therapies for musculoskeletal pain (including basic and clinical studies), neck pain, whiplash, neck-related headaches, concussion injuries and clinical trial methodology. He has published over 100 journal articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as numerous chapters in texts. He has edited two text books on the Cranio-Cervical Syndrome.

Dr. Vernon is currently the PI of an NIH R01 study to validate a sham-control procedure for use in clinical trials of spinal manipulation in neck pain patients. He is a reviewer for the NIH. He is on the editorial board of the journal Spine, as well as a reviewer for numerous chiropractic and medical journals. He is currently a clinical consultant to the NIH-funded Center of Excellence in Chiropractic Appropriateness at the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California. He is a member of the Canadian Pain Society.

Employment History / Recent Positions

1977–present, Faculty, Professor
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Department of Graduate Studies and Research

1996–2013, Consultant
Motor vehicle accident assessments, Toronto Western Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, Herrold and Venon Inc.

1977–2013, Private Practice


Glamorgan University, Wales
1999 : Chiropractic : PhD

Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
1977 : Chiropractic : DC

York University
1973 : Humanities : HonsBA

Recent Publications

  • Monticone M, Vernon H, Ferrante S, Brunati R, Rocca B. Validation of the NeckPix©: a pictorial instrument for rating fear of movement in activities of daily living in neck pain patients. Eur Spine J. 2015 Jan;24(1):72-9. 
  • Joseph SD, Bellare B, Vernon H. The cultural adaptation, reliability and validity of the Neck Disability Index in an Indian rural population: A Marathi version. Spine 2015;40(2):E68-76. 
  • Vernon H, Lawson G. The Headache Activities of Daily Living Index: initial validation study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015 Feb;38(2):102-11. 
  • Monticone M, Ambrosini E, Vernon H, Brunati R, Rocca B, Foti C, Ferrante S. Responsiveness and minimal important changes for the Neck Disability Index and the Neck Pain Disability Scale in Italian subjects with chronic neck pain. Submitted to: Europ J Spine 2015, e-pub ahead of print. 
  • Vernon H, Guerriero R, Kavanaugh S, Puhl A. Is “fear of passive movement” a distinctive component of the Fear-Avoidance Model in whiplash? In Press: J Can Chirop Assoc, September 2015. 
  • Bahtadze MA, Vernon H, Kuzminov KO, Bolotov DA, Zaharova OB, Sitel DA. Neck Disability Index questionnaire: reliability assessment of Russian version. Spine 2015;40(14):1115-21

Recent Research Support:

  • 2011: “Development of a rat model of chronic lumbar facet joint pain”. Vernon H, CMCC; Henry J and Yashpal K, McMaster University. National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Co. $22,000. 
  • 2012: “Integrating chiropractic into the St. Michael’s Hospital Emergency Department.” Kopansky-Giles D., et al., Ontario Chiropractic Association, $140,000. 
  • 2012: “A pragmatic, randomized clinical trial of chiropractic with and without a self-acupressure device for headaches”. Vernon H., et al., Healthful Innovations Inc., $13,400 
  • 2012: “Generalizing a valid sham manipulation to a multiple operator, longitudinal RCT for chronic neck pain.” Vernon H, Triano J, Tibbles A. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, $933,665.