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Matt Fernandez

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), The University of Sydney

Master of Chiropractic, Macquarie University

Bachelor of Sport Science, UNSW

Professional Memberships


​ACA - Australian Chiropractic Association

CA - Chiropractic Australia


Moffat Beach Chiro​

Matt Fernandez is a chiropractor and exercise physiologist with a strong interest in the management of spinal pain disorders.

Prior to moving to the Sunshine Coast, Matt worked for over 20 years as lead chiropractor and exercise physiologist in a multidisciplinary clinic in Sydney. He worked with a diversity of patients from children to older adults, as well as treated many elite athletes from Olympic level swimmers to professional football teams such as the West Tigers.

Aside from clinical work, Matt previously worked as a lecturer Maquarie University, Sydney and is currently a senior lecturer at Central Queensland University (CQU), where he teaches and supervises students in the master’s of chiropractic program.

Matt is very passionate about research, and following the completion of his PhD at the University of Sydney, he now leads various research projects and supervises research students. He has published his own research and regularly presents his findings at national and international conferences in areas that advances the knowledge and understanding of chiropractic through physical activity, exercise and patient education interventions.

Outside of the clinical and university setting, Matt participates in long-distance open water swimming. Covering all distances, including the Bondi-to-Watsons Bay Swim in Sydney (10km), the iconic Rottnest Channel Swim in Perth (20km) and the prestigious Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York (46km).

Image by Reinis Birznieks

Research profile

As an academic, Matt earned his Ph.D. in 2017 from the University of Sydney, School of Physiotherapy. His doctoral thesis entitled: Back pain, comorbidities and interventions for sciatica, explored the connections between spinal pain, specifically low back pain and its relationship with chronic disease. This body of work looked at the impact back pain can have on depression and anxiety, heart attacks, sleep, and the risk of early death. His research explored twins within the musculoskeletal space – specifically investigating the emerging field of the genetic and environmental  influence on spinal pain.

Matt’s PhD work also focused on sciatica – burning pain in one or both legs, which uncovered potential treatment benefits by promoting physical activity and exercise for this condition.

Presently, Matt’s focus has turned to evidence-informed care within the chiropractic profession. He is particularly interested in the impact of lifestyle factors, including physical activity, mental health and sleep quality, exploring ways in which chiropractors integrate and manage these important public health topics within their practices.

Matt has since published his research in a range of formats from impactful journals to podcasts and interviews and has presented his research at numerous national and international conferences, where he has been the recipient of numerous academic awards. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (CARL).



Most recent first

  1. Fernandez M, Young A, Milton K, Pinhiero M, de Luca K, Ferreira P, Hebert J. Physical activity promotion in chiropractic: a systematic review of clinician-based surveys. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 2022 Dec;30(1):1-3.

  2. Fernandez M, Young A, Kongsted A, Hartvigsen J, Barton C, Wallis J, Kent P, Kawchuk G, Jenkins H, Hancock M, French SD. GLA: D® Back Australia: a mixed methods feasibility study for implementation. Chiropractic & manual therapies. 2022 Apr 7;30(1):17.

  3. Hartvigsen J, Kawchuk G, Breen A, De Carvalho D, Eklund A, Fernandez M, Funabashi M, Holmes MM, Johansson MS, de Luca K, Moore C. Leadership and capacity building in chiropractic research: report from the first CARL cohort. Chiropractic & manual therapies. 2021 Dec;29(1):1-5.

  4. Jenkins HJ, Downie AS, Fernandez M, Hancock MJ. Decreasing thoracic hyperkyphosis–Which treatments are most effective? A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. 2021 Dec 1;56:102438.

  5. Moore C, Whillier S, Funabashi M, De Carvalho D, Adams J, Fernandez M, Giuriato R, Swain M. Chiropractic student diagnosis and management of headache disorders: A survey examining self-perceived preparedness and clinical proficiency. Journal of Chiropractic Education. 2021 Oct 1;35(2):229-41.

  6. Fernandez M, Moore C, Tan J, Lian D, Nguyen J, Bacon A, Christie B, Shen I, Waldie T, Simonet D, Bussières A. Spinal manipulation for the management of cervicogenic headache: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. European Journal of Pain. 2020 Oct;24(9):1687-702.

  7. Fernandez M, Moore C, Peng W, De Luca K, Pohlman KA, Swain M, Adams J. The profile of chiropractors managing patients with low back-related leg pain: analyses of 1907 chiropractors from the ACORN practice-based research network. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 2019 Dec;27(1):1-9.

  8. Moore C, de Luca K, Wong AY, Fernandez M, Swain M, Hartvigsen J, Adams J, Peng W. Characteristics of chiropractors who manage people aged 65 and older: A nationally representative sample of 1903 chiropractors. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 2019 Dec;38(4):249-57.

  9. De Luca K, Wong A, Eklund A, Fernandez M, Byles JE, Parkinson L, Ferreira ML, Hartvigsen J. Multisite joint pain in older Australian women is associated with poorer psychosocial health and greater medication use. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 2019 Dec;27(1):1-9.

  10. Fernandez M, Moore C, Eklund A, Swain M, de Luca K, Sibbritt D, Adams J, Peng W. The prevalence and determinants of physical activity promotion by Australian chiropractors: a cross sectional study. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2019 Aug 1;45:172-8.

  11. Adams J, Kawchuk G, Breen A, De Carvalho D, Eklund A, Fernandez M, Funabashi M, Holmes MM, Johansson MS, de Luca K, Moore C. Leadership and capacity building in international chiropractic research: introducing the chiropractic academy for research leadership (CARL). Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 2018 Dec;26(1):1-6.

  12. de Luca KE, Gliedt JA, Fernandez M, Kawchuk G, Swain MS. The identity, role, setting, and future of chiropractic practice: a survey of Australian and New Zealand chiropractic students. Journal of Chiropractic Education. 2018 Oct;32(2):115-25.

  13. Fernandez M, Colodro-Conde L, Hartvigsen J, Ferreira ML, Refshauge KM, Pinheiro MB, Ordoñana JR, Ferreira PH. Chronic low back pain and the risk of depression or anxiety symptoms: insights from a longitudinal twin study. The spine journal. 2017 Jul 1;17(7):905-12.

  14. Fernandez M, Boyle E, Hartvigsen J, Ferreira ML, Refshauge KM, Maher CG, Christensen K, Hopper JL, Ferreira PH. Is this back pain killing me? All‐cause and cardiovascular‐specific mortality in older Danish twins with spinal pain. European Journal of Pain. 2017 May;21(5):938-48.

  15. Fernandez M, Ferreira PH. Acupuncture for sciatica and a comparison with Western Medicine (PEDro synthesis). British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017 Mar 1;51(6):539-40.

  16. Fernandez M, Ferreira ML, Refshauge KM, Hartvigsen J, Silva IR, Maher CG, Koes BW, Ferreira PH. Surgery or physical activity in the management of sciatica: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Spine Journal. 2016 Nov;25:3495-512.

  17. Fernandez M, Ordoñana JR, Hartvigsen J, Ferreira ML, Refshauge KM, Sánchez-Romera JF, Pinheiro MB, Simpson SJ, Hopper JL, Ferreira PH. Is chronic low back pain associated with the prevalence of coronary heart disease when genetic susceptibility is considered? A co-twin control study of Spanish twins. PLoS One. 2016 May 12;11(5):e0155194.

  18. Hübscher M, Hartvigsen J, Fernandez M, Christensen K, Ferreira P. Does physical activity moderate the relationship between depression symptomatology and low back pain? Cohort and co-twin control analyses nested in the longitudinal study of aging Danish twins (LSADT). European Spine Journal. 2016 Apr;25:1226-33.

  19. Fernandez M, Hartvigsen J, Ferreira ML, Refshauge KM, Machado AF, Lemes ÍR, Maher CG, Ferreira PH. Advice to stay active or structured exercise in the management of sciatica. Spine. 2015 Sep 15;40(18):1457-66.

  20. Fernandez M, Pugh D. Multimodal and interdisciplinary management of an isolated partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament: a case report. Journal of chiropractic medicine. 2012 Jun 1;11(2):84-93.

  21. Fernandez M, Pollard H, McHardy A. A patient with deep vein thrombosis presenting to a chiropractic clinic: a case report. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics. 2007 Feb 1;30(2):144-51.

  22. McHardy A, Pollard H, Fernandez M. Triathlon injuries: A review of the literature and discussion of potential injury mechanisms. Clinical Chiropractic. 2006 Sep;9(3):129-38.

  23. Pollard H, Fernandez M. Spinal musculoskeletal injuries associated with swimming: a discussion of technique. Australasian Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 2004 Nov;12(2):72.

Invited speaker, talks and conferences

  • CAANSW AGM Seminar, Sydney, 2017.

  • Chiropractic Australia/COCA National Conference, Sydney, 2018.

  • Sports Medicine Australia (Victorian Branch), Melbourne, 2020.

  • Spine Week (Online) Joint ACA & CA Asia-Pacific symposium, Sydney, 2020.

  • CA - Chiropractic Australia National Conference, Sydney, 2022.

  • Work Healthy Australia – Clinical Training Weekend, Melbourne, 2022.

  • Spine Week Joint ACA & CA Asia-Pacific symposium, Melbourne, 2023.

  • WFC - World Federation for Chiropractic Biennial Conference, Gold Coast, 2023.

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