The PIRL was formed in 2008, at the time called 'the Clinical Whiplash Intervention and Prognosis Research Group" out of necessity as the number of clinical physiotherapists involved in whiplash research through the University of Western Ontario grew. The shift to PIRL allows greater flexibility in our research pursuits, where we can continue work within the field of whiplash but also move into other neuromusculoskeletal pain conditions. New research arms have organically arisen through our work, now including a small presence in concussion research, other traumatic MSK injuries, tech-enabled (augmented) rehabilitation, and professional education and development. The PIRL is best coneptualized as a network of academics, clinical researchers and data collectors located across Canada, all of whom have an interest in furthering knowledge, clinical practice, and improving outcomes for people with non-cancer pain.
Membership is currently limited to researchers or clinicians who have participated in some part of PIRL activities over the past year. New members are added each September drawn from thesis-based graduate students, entry-level MPT trainees, and post-professional Master's of Clinical Science students. We are also connected to Western's Bone and Joint Institute for musculoskeletal research, and the Lawson Health Research Institute at London's clinical research sites.
The mission of PIRL is simple:
To rigorously generate and disseminate trustworthy knowledge that leads to better outcomes for people with pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction.
Rigorous generation of trustworthy knowledge requires intimate knowledge of research methods, and willingness of all data collectors to adhere to the highest research standards. Knowledge with clinical applicability means that the research conducted and disseminated by PIRL is developed from the ground-up with the end-user, the clinician, in mind. PIRL is an amalgam of academics and clinicians, which ensures that research is designed and conducted properly, while involving key stakeholders from the outset.
The PIRL is directed by Dr. David Walton at Western University, in London Ontario, Canada. Clinician members are dispersed across Canada, from New Brunswick to British Columbia. Academic research connections have also been formed with researchers at McMaster University(Hamilton), McGill University (Montreal), the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary, Northwestern University (Chicago), the University of New South Wales (Sydney) and the University of Queensland (Brisbane).