METHODS: A 2-page survey was developed to collect information from current chiropractic patients at a teaching chiropractic clinic in the United States. Questions included (1) brief patient demographic information, (2) whether their chiropractor was their primary care physician, and (3) patient beliefs about chiropractors assessing and treating conditions that are common to a primary care medical practice. Conditions listed in the survey were based on a previous study on primary care medical physicians' practices. The sample of chiropractic patients was divided into suburban, urban, and chiropractic university-affiliated patients.
RESULTS: There were 163 subjects who responded to this survey for a 58% response rate. Only 19% (30/157) saw their chiropractor as their primary care physician. However, for each 'primary care condition' listed, the percent of patients who affirmed that chiropractors could treat the condition varied greatly with many conditions showing an affirmative response of higher than 50% especially in the urban and university-affiliated patient groups. All patients overwhelmingly believed that chiropractors could treat musculoskeletal conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients have varied views of what chiropractors can and cannot treat. Further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for specific primary care disorders. The results of such studies may be the determining influence for public and physician opinion on the appropriateness of chiropractic care for these conditions.
First author: Jerrilyn A. Cambron
Click on the above link for the PubMed record for this article; full text by subscription. This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. DOI Link