Dr Christine Comer


I am a postdoctoral physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal care, with a particular interest in the management of patients with degenerative spinal and joint conditions. 

Since qualifying as a physiotherapist in 1992 from Sheffield Polytechnic, I have developed clinical expertise in the management of patients with a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions. I have worked as a physiotherapy clinician in the NHS in Rotherham, London, Harrogate and Leeds, continuing my post-graduate clinical training through successful completion of Society of Orthopaedic Medicine training and examination in 1997, Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists training and examination in 1999, MSc in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 1999 (University College London), and Orthopaedic Medicine Injection Diploma in 2004. My clinical work has focused on musculoskeletal care in the community setting in Leeds since 2002. I am currently employed as an Extended Scope Physiotherapist by the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Service.

I started my research into the non-operative management of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis with the University of Leeds in 2006, and completed my PhD in 2012 funded by Arthritis Research UK.  Following a successful application for an HEE/NIHR Clinical Lectureship in 2018, I now have a clinical academic role dividing my time between NHS clinics, research capacity building, and undertaking a programme f NIHR funded research. I was awarded an Honorary Clinical Associate Professorship by the University of Leeds in recognition of contributions to clinical and academic leadership. I have also recently been appointed by the by the NIHR and CAHPR as the Allied Health Professionals Research Champion for Yorkshire. As part of this role, I am actively involved in encouraging and supporting Allied Health Professionals’ postgraduate development in clinical research roles, establishing Leeds-wide cross-trust and academic institute research dissemination, and improving research engagement and activity in community-based clinical services.

My own research includes improving non-surgical rehabilitation for patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, and I am leading a project for the development of a standardised clinical pathway for patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in conjunction with an International Taskforce on the Diagnosis and Management of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.


Comer C, Smith TO, Drew B, Raja R, Kingsbury SR, Conaghan PG. A systematic review assessing non-pharmacological conservative treatment studies for people with non-inflammatory multi-joint pain: clinical outcomes and research design considerations. Rheumatology international 2017: 1-11.

Comer C, Glover J, Richardson J, Yaseen R, Foster S, Wolfenden NM, Hughes GJ. Stratification of Treatment in a Community-Based Musculoskeletal Service: A Mixed-Methods Study to Assess Predictors of Requiring Complex Care. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2016 Jun 30;97(6):900-11.

Tomkins-Lane C, Melloh M, Lurie J, Smuck M, Freeman B, Samartzis D, Hu R, Barz T, Stuber K, Schneider M, Haig A, Shizas C, Cheung JP, Mannion AF, Staub L, Comer C, Macedo L, Ahn SH, Takahashi K, Sandella D. Consensus on the Clinical Diagnosis of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Results of an International Delphi Study. Spine. 2016 Feb 41(15), p.1239

Comer, C.M., Redmond, A.C., Bird,H.A., Hensor,E.M.A., Conaghan,P.G. A home exercise programme is no more beneficial than advice and education for people with neurogenic claudication: Results from a randomised controlled trial.  PloS one, 2013 Sep 30; 8(9), e72878

May S, Comer, C.M., Is surgery more effective than conservative treatment of spinal stenosis; and which conservative therapy is more effective? A systematic review. Physiotherapy 2013.  99: 12-20

Comer, C.M., Conaghan, P.G., Tennant, A., Internal construct validity of the Swiss Spine Stenosis Questionnaire:  Rasch analysis of a disease-specific outcome measure for lumbar spinal stenosis   Spine 2011.  36(23); 1969-1976

Comer, C.M., White, D., Conaghan, P.G., Bird, H.A., Redmond, A.C., The effects of walking with a shopping trolley on spinal posture and loading in subjects with neurogenic Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2010 91: p1602-7

Comer, C.M., Johnson, M.I., Marchant, P.R., Redmond, A.C., Bird, H.A., Conaghan,P.G., The effectiveness of walking stick use for neurogenic claudication: results from a randomized trial and the effects on walking tolerance and posture. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2010. 91(1): p15-9.

Comer, C.M., Redmond, A.C., Bird, H.A., Conaghan, P.G., Assessment and management of neurogenic claudication associated with lumbar spinal stenosis in a UK primary care musculoskeletal service: a survey of current practice among physiotherapists. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2009. 10: p121.

Comer C, Conaghan PGTackling persistent low back pain in primary carePractitioner. 2009 Sep;253(1721):32-4, 3

J Timothy, E Foley, C Comer, et al.  Soft tissue injuries: 3. Paraspinal Emerg Med J 2008 25: 514-521


  • NIHR Clinical Lecturer
  • NIHR/ CAHPR Allied Health Professions Research Champion Yorkshire

Research interests

Rehabilitation and non-surgical mnagement of lumbar spinal strenosis and degenerative spinal conditions

Effective rehabilitation dose

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine