Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate medical practitioner attitudes towards chiropractic, and uncover major themes which may influence practitioners’ attitudes.
Design: This research was conducted as a narrative review.
Methods: A systematic search of online electronic databases identified twenty eligible relevant studies. Critical appraisal of these was completed using the STROBE and PRISMA checklists.
Results: A broad variety of medically orientated attitudes towards chiropractic were uncovered from the period of 1998-2018. Twenty studies represented locations across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa, America and North America. Study participants were practising general practitioners or speciality physicians.
Synthesis: Attitudinal trends towards chiropractic ranging on a scale from negative, to neutral, or positive were revealed. Lack of evidence, concerns of safety, lack of knowledge, redundancy (due to physiotherapy), scepticism and low-referral rates are likely factors associated with negative clinician attitudes. Subjective beliefs that chiropractic is effective, high referral rates, interest in learning more about chiropractic, openness to communication, value of patient preferences, and belief that chiropractic is safe are likely factors facilitating neutral-positive clinician attitudes.
Conclusions: A representative medical attitude consensus is not currently definitive in the literature due to heterogeneity across studies and limited data of varying quality. Medical attitudes towards chiropractic appear to be multivariable in nature. Additionally, reoccurring themes which may influence attitudes have been established which warrant future research in these domains to allow improved inter-professional relationships and impact patient management in the healthcare system.
Author keywords: Medical Attitude, Chiropractic, Complementary Alternative Medicine, Attitudes
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