Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the demographics, presenting complaints, and health history of new patients seeking treatment at a free chiropractic clinic within a university health center.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of patient files from 2008 to 2009 was performed for a free student chiropractic clinic in the Buffalo, NY, area. Demographics, presenting complaints, and health history of new patients seeking treatment were recorded.
Results: There were 343 new chiropractic patient files. Most patients were between the ages of 18 and 30 years (n = 304, 88%) with an almost equal distribution of men (n = 163, 48%) and women (n = 180, 52%). The patients were mostly single (n = 300, 87%). Patients self-reported that their case histories excluded a current medical diagnosis (n = 261, 76%), previous history of disease (n = 216, 63%), allergies (n = 240, 70%), previous surgical procedures (n = 279, 81%), and medication use (n = 250, 73%). The frequencies of spinal complaints were as follows: lumbar spine, n = 176 (51%); cervical spine, n = 78 (23%); and thoracic spine, n = 44 (13%). Maintenance care, headaches, and spine-related upper and lower extremities complaints accounted for the other 13% of patients treated. Half were chronic (n = 172, 50%), and a third were acute (n=108, 31%). Patients averaged 6 chiropractic visits, with 88% having 11 visits or less.
Conclusion: This study found that new patients seeking care at a free student chiropractic clinic within a university health center in the Buffalo area mainly consisted of young single adults, with chronic lumbar spine complaints with few comorbidities.
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