Objective: This study aimed to analyze the demographic and descriptive information of new patients presenting to an educational institution–based chiropractic student clinic in South Africa that could then be used to draw comparisons to other international chiropractic student clinics and local practices.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective descriptive study of all new patient files from January 1, 2016, to July 31, 2016. The variables extracted were age, health profiles, number of musculoskeletal complaints, treatment protocol, and number of treatments that patients received for the initial complaint. Data were analyzed using cross-tabulations and multidimensional χ2 tests.
Results: There were 865 files reviewed. Most patients were aged between 20 and 24 years. Lumbar and pelvic complaints were most common (42.2%), followed by the cervical spine (28%). Lumbar (18.8%) and cervical (16.8%) biomechanical conditions, followed by lumbar myofascial pain syndrome (7.6%), were the most common problems. Musculoskeletal conditions were reported in 99% of cases. The majority (80%) of patients received 9 or fewer treatments for their initial complaint. Manipulation was used in 93.9% of cases, followed by mobilization (8.8%), interferential current (23.5%), and dry needling (19.1%).
Conclusions: Data gathered suggest that there are some general similarities with international training institutions. There are also differences between the study sample and international institutions and South African private chiropractic practice. The dissimilarities were a younger patient population, a lower number of treatment visits, and low exposure to nonmusculoskeletal conditions. These differences may affect the breadth of student education and require further investigation.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, Spinal Manipulation, Retrospective Studies, Students, Education, South Africa
Author affiliations: Department of Chiropractic, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Corresponding author: Fatima Ismail—firstname.lastname@example.org
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