Personal profile

Research areas

Per Kjaer is currently Professor of Musculoskeletal Research in the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, and Head of Research in the Health Sciences Research Centre, UCL University College, Odense, Denmark. Per is involved in the implementation of the GLA:D Back and My Back projects as well as developing and implementing research strategies across health professions at UCL University College. Per’s personal mission is to bridge research and practice to ensure high-quality care for people with health issues, including musculoskeletal disorders, through the training of health care providers.

Per has broad experience as a clinician, a lecturer and a researcher. He specialised in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and worked clinically for more than 25 years, while at the same time teaching in pre- and postgraduate physiotherapy programmes, particularly within the musculoskeletal area. Per has been involved in curriculum development for the Danish community-based musculoskeletal physiotherapy programme and the university-based master’s programme in physiotherapy. Over the past two decades, Per has been more involved in research and project management with an emphasis on back and neck pain, diagnostic imaging and implementation of best evidence in clinical practice. Per has published a total of 66 articles in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, contributed to six clinical guidelines, participated in 78 conference papers and has been invited as a speaker 85 times.

Research interests

Per Kjaer’s research has focused on neck and low back pain with particular emphasis on spinal pain epidemiology and neck pain characteristics, imaging findings drawing on his expertise in MRI, the use of database registries, wireless motion sensor systems, and the conduct of clinical trials. In the search for biological causes and risk factors of low back pain, Per Kjaer has established, led and managed the longitudinal cohort study called `Backs on Funen´ since 2000 with regular time-series re-measurement.

For more than 20 years, Per Kjaer has prioritised leading and participating in the challenging task of creating several clinical guidelines for the profession’s clinical community: one for safety in the treatment of neck pain (initiated by the Danish Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Association), another for the examination of people with neck pain (initiated by the Danish Physiotherapy Association). Per was by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority appointed professional writer in multidisciplinary working groups, with responsibility for collating all relevant evidence for the development of a clinical guidelines for non-surgical treatment for lumbar radiculopathy and for cervical radiculopathy.

As a result of this, Per has been instrumental in the collaborative work of developing the GLA:D Back implementation project, which aim to implement the current best evidence in clinical practice for physiotherapists and chiropractors managing people with back pain in primary care. Per has also been involved in the SelfBACK project in which an App was developed to support self-management for people with back pain. This work has been extended to the My Back project which aims to facilitate that people with back pain seen in a municipality context are offered an optimal rehabilitation programme.

Education/Academic qualification

PHD, PHD, Low back pain in relation to lumbar spine abnormalities as identified by magnetic resonance imaging, University of Southern Denmark

1. Mar 200030. Jun 2004

Award Date: 14. Jan 2005

Physiotherapy, MSC, Inter- and Intra-observer Reliability in Myofascial Release Diagnostics, Karolinska Institute

15. Aug 199730. Jun 1999

Award Date: 30. Jun 1999

Physiotherapist, BSC, Fysioterapiskolen, Odense

15. Aug 198030. Jun 1983

Award Date: 30. Jun 1983

External positions

UCL University College, UCL Erhvervsakademi og professionshøjskole

1. Oct 2019 → …

Fysioterapeut,forskning, Rygcenter Ringe

1. Feb 199831. Jan 2009

Research areas

  • Radiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Physiotherapy
  • back and neck pain
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Implementation
  • Genetics
  • disc degeneration
  • Analysis of body movements
  • Neuromuscular control
  • Classification of back pain
  • Quality Assurance
  • Clinical Guidelines
  • Treatment of pain
  • back and neck pain
  • exercise and training
  • non-surgical interventions for musculoskeletal disorders


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