OBJECTIVE: The aim was to survey chiropractic practice in Europe.
DESIGN: A postal questionnaire survey of all chiropractors in the European Chiropractors' Union (1990) yielded demographic information and practice characteristics. Patient case forms, completed by randomly selected practitioners, revealed the demographic features, presenting complaints, diagnoses and management procedures used.
SETTING: The survey was conducted in private chiropractic practices of 13 European countries.
PARTICIPANTS: Nine hundred five practitioner questionnaires (70% response) and 1014 patient case forms were used.
MAIN RESULTS: Demographic features of chiropractors and patients compare well to previous studies. Most chiropractors, one-quarter of whom are now females, were European trained. Many practice in groups and in cooperation with other health professions, especially in relation to radiology. Radiographs are used in nearly two-thirds of cases, yet only 25% of patients were X-rayed in chiropractic clinics. Nearly half of the patients consulted in the first month of their complaints, which were mainly of musculoskeletal pain. Virtually no evidence appeared of attempts to manage viscerosystemic disease. The manual techniques used varied considerably according to country. Most patients were at work during the course of their treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: The results reflect a considerable maturation of the profession over the past two decades. The study highlights the socioeconomic potential for the treatment of chronic and severe musculoskeletal pain.
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