Research Method: A case study to identify which elements in the chiropractic consultation patients perceived as most beneficial was undertaken. The study involved purposive sampling of chiropractic clinics and convenience sampling of patients. Six chiropractic clinics in Queensland and Western Australia and 146 patients participated. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview.
Results: The major benefit of chiropractic care reported by over 71% of patients was pain relief. One in 3 patients believed the chiropractic adjustment was entirely responsible for the beneficial outcome of their care; 85% felt the adjustment accounted for more than half of their clinical benefit.
Discussion: Patients perceive the adjustment as the most potent contributor to the benefit they derive from chiropractic care, however the mechanism whereby the adjustment achieves its clinical effect remains obscure; the technique most likely to achieve the optimal outcome in a particular case remains unknown, as does apportionment of the benefit attributable to the specific and placebo overlay of the chiropractic adjustment.
Conclusions: The shift to evidence-based care provides chiropractic with an opportunity to achieve scientific credibility. Research leading to a deeper understanding of the chiropractic adjustment is urgently needed.
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