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Cormac Ryan

01642 738253
Job title:
School of Health & Social Care
Health & Social Care research

About Cormac Ryan

Cormac Ryan

Cormac Ryan
Reader, School of Health & Social Care
T: 01642 738253
Research: Health & Social Care research

Dr Cormac Ryan is a Reader in Physiotherapy at Teesside University. He graduated from the University of Limerick in 2002 with a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science and completed an MSc in Physiotherapy (pre-registration) at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. 

He was awarded his PhD from the Glasgow Caledonian University in 2008 where he looked at the relationship between physical activity and chronic lower back pain.

Before coming to Teesside in September 2010 he was a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Cormac has published over thirty peer-reviewed journal articles and obtained more the £650,000 in competitive funding. Cormac is the editor in chief of Pain and rehabilitation - the journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, a peer-review journal with a 20 year history. Cormac is also the current chair of the Physiotherapy Research Society and co-lead of the North East of England hub of the Council for Allied Health Professionals Research.

Research interests

Cormac's research interests are primarily in the area of chronic pain, its impact on patients and interventions to manage the condition. These fit within the Rehabilitation sciences theme of HSCI. Cormac's other key research interest is physical activity and physical activity monitoring with an emphasis on the measurement of sedentary behaviour and strategies to reduce sedentary behaviour. Other areas of interest inclide the bio-psychosocial model of rehabilitation, chronic low back pain, return-to-work, pain education and the role of the patient therapist relationship. 

Current Projects:

  • An exploration of the experiences and educational needs of patients with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome receiving spinal cord stimulation. (obtained December 2014). Funder: Medtronics LTD.
    Principal Investigator: Dr Cormac Ryan PhD
    Co applicants: Professor Sam Eldabe, Dr Raymond Chadwick PhD, Professor Denis Martin
    Amount: £9,944
  • North East Regional Back Pain Pathway (Obtained December 2014)
    Funder: The Health Foundation
    Principal Investigator: Martin Phillips (Chief Executive NHS Darlington CCG)
    Co applicants: Teesside University co applicants are Dr Sharon Hamilton PhD, Dr Cormac Ryan PhD, Dr Dono Widiatmoko PhD and Professor Denis Martin
    Amount: £500,000
  • Exploring re-conceptualisation of pain as a mechanism underlying the effects of pain neurophysiology education for back pain: a qualitative study. (Obtained Jan 2014)
    Funder: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (Scheme B)
    Principal Investigator: MR. Richard King
    Co applicants: Dr. Cormac Ryan Ph.D (Supervisor), Mrs. Victoria Robinson, Professor Denis Martin.
    Amount: £16,719.23
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENS) for patients with upper limb complex regional pain syndrome: A feasibility study. (obtained 2013)
    Funder: British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT)
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Cormac Ryan PhD.
    Co applicants: Professor Denis Martin, Professor Mark Johnson, Dr. David Punt, Mr. Richard King, Mrs Victoria Robinson, Professor Christian Gruneberg, Professor Hubert Dinse.
    Amount: £19,455


Four selected publications since 2008

  • Ryan CG. (2015) Evidence based care: Misunderstandings and misnomers. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Vol. 22(4): 156
  • King R, Johnson MI, Ryan CG, Robinson V, Martin DJ, Punt DT. (2015) My Foot? Motor imagery-evoked pain, alternative strategies and implications for lateralit. Pain Medicine Article first published online: 12 Jan 2015 DOI: 10.1111/pme.12646
  • Furguson F, Morison S, Ryan C. (2015) Physiotherapists' understanding of red flags for back pain. Musculoskeletal Care, Vol. 13: 42-50
  • Ryan C, Harland N, Drew BT, Martin D. (2014) Tactile acuity training for patients with chronic low back pain: a pilot randomised controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 15:59, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-59

View Cormac Ryan's Publications on TeesRep

In the news

  • Digital experts looking to get beyond the `audition' stage in international healthcare project
    North East Connected, 18/10/2017
    Researchers at Teesside University are part of the international project which will to help provide support for people with a variety of health conditions.

  • Three minutes with Cormac Ryan
    Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (online), 05/01/17
    Cormac Ryan from Teesside University is finding novel ways of helping physiotherapy students to empathise with older patients with pain.

  • Increasing patient empathy in pain management
    Care & Essentials, online, 18/10/2016
    A blog by Dr Cormac Ryan.

  • Researchers find link between chronic pain and heart disease
    Pharma Focus Asia, web, 05/03/2014,, web, 05/03/2014, Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management, web, 05/03/2014, Health Publishing and Services, web, 05/03/2014
    Elderly people who have chronic muscle pain are at a significantly increased risk of having heart disease - researchers at Teesside University have found.

  • Link between chronic pain and heart disease
    Medical News Today, web, 05/03/2014
    Elderly people who have chronic muscle pain are at a significantly increased risk of having heart disease - researchers at Teesside University have found.

  • Muscle pain 'link to heart disease'
    The Northern Echo, 04/03/2014, ad hoc news online, 04/03/2014
    Researchers from Teesside University have found that elderly people who have chronic muscle pain are at a significantly increased risk of having heart disease.