Background: Two recent surveys of chiropractors in Great Britain suggest that there are discrepancies between chiropractic practice as defined in regulatory guidelines and day-to-day chiropractic clinical practice and there is in general a paucity of information regarding the characteristics of contemporary chiropractic practice in the United Kingdom. This field study describes the daily practice of a contemporary British UK-trained chiropractor.
Methods: The fieldwork took place during the spring and summer of 2008 when the author spent one day per week observing consultations and interviewing patients in a chiropractic clinic. The chiropractor was subjected to interviews on two occasions. The author also registered as a patient. Field notes were taken by the author, interviews were recorded and the transcripts were corrected and analysed by the author.
Results: A total of 25 patients took part in the study. The interaction that took place between patients and staff in reception could be considered as a prelude to consultation facilitating the transformation from individual to patient and back to individual. Coupled with the continuous physical contact between the chiropractor and each patient there was a substantial amount of verbal and non-verbal communication throughout treatment visits. The patients presented with predominantly musculo-skeletal pain and the majority had consulted the chiropractor as a result of recommendations from others in their close social environment. The majority of the interviewed patients had either an inaccurate or at best rudimentary understanding of the mechanisms of chiropractic treatment. A few of the interviewed patients indicated that they had at first experienced concerns about the nature of chiropractic treatment or getting undressed. The author was able to gain some insight into how the chiropractor's experiences, opinions and beliefs had shaped his approach to chiropractic treatment and how this formed the basis of his clinical modus operandi.
Conclusion: Although no robust conclusions should be drawn from this small scale field study it does show that the clinical chiropractic practice as carried out by this UK trained British chiropractor contains a number of elements described in earlier qualitative studies in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
This abstract is reproduced with permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text.