OBJECTIVE: To compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of low back pain patients from chiropractic college clinics and private practice settings on the west coast of the United States.
DESIGN AND SETTING: A survey analysis of consecutive new patients in a specified time frame from multiple private office settings contrasted with a previous survey of consecutive new patients in a similar time frame from chiropractic college clinics.
PATIENTS: In the private practice setting, new patients were selected on a consecutive basis as subjects for the study. Selection was limited to low back pain patients.
INTERVENTIONS: None. This was a self-report survey only.
MAIN OUTCOME: There is a strong similarity of the two low back pain patient groups, with the exception of higher levels of income, work time loss, severity and functional disability reported in the private practice setting.
RESULTS: Similarities between the two low back pain patient groups were found in the distribution of gender, age, job description and education. Statistical significances were not determined due to variations in data collection.
CONCLUSIONS: The two patient populations are reasonably comparable in sociodemographic variables, but clinical variation does exist. These results suggest the need to consider clinical findings when extrapolating research findings in a college clinic setting to the chiropractic profession in general.
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