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Dr Valerie Sparkes 


Profile picture of Valerie Sparkes.
Position:Associate Director of Research and Innovation

Telephone:+44 (0)29 206 87560
Extension:87560
Location:2F08, Second floor, Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Research Interests

Spinal pain
  • Spinal pain and dysfunction, including neuromuscular control of muscles, muscle imbalance in spinal pain, disc degeneration and the resultant motor control dysfunction; the effect of spinal surgery on lumbar multifidus; differences between lumbar and thoracic spinal control; movement patterns in patients with disc degeneration; 
    • Key Projects: The effect of neuromuscular control training on spinal repositioning; The effect of spinal repositioning during walking on back pain.
  • Rehabilitation of back pain patients which include motor control training involving proprioceptive training, spinal stabilisation exercises, cognitive behavioural approaches. The effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes on recovery following spinal surgery.
  • Postural control in sitting combined with the effect of fatigue on neuromuscular control and spinal posture.
  • Gait analysis in Spinal disorders
Classification of back pain
  • The effect of neuromuscular training on specific sub groups in patients with low back pain.
Sports injuries
  • The effect of bowling technique/ bowling load on spinal injures.
  • The effect of fatigue on spinal curvature and muscle activity during rowing on an ergometer.
  • The effect of spinal stabilisation exercises on transversus abdominus an multifidus in rugby players.
Differential diagnosis of pain
  • The thoracic spine as a source of pain.
  • Differential diagnosis of abdominal pain from musculoskeletal pain.