The stress response is a natural reaction by the body, against potentially harmful stimuli to enhance the chance for survival. Persistent activation of the stress response can cause changes to homeostatic mechanisms. The study of stress neurophysiology, in the evaluation of the manifestation of disease in the body, suggests that these chronic changes have detrimental effects on sub cortical structures. Furthermore, there is much scientific support for the notion that chronic activation of supraspinal systems will lead to maladaptation of homeostatic mechanisms, causing the impairment of processes within the body, and ultimately leading to visceral disorders. The chiropractic profession for many years has alluded to chronic change of neurophysiological pathways as a potential explanation of visceral disorders, but the profession has typically described these in terms of somatovisceral or viscerosomatic reflex activity. Change in supraspinal neurophysiological efferent activity is increasingly being used to explain "stress" related disease. The chiropractic profession should consider investigating such stress responses by conducting spinal manipulative therapy trials that evaluate supraspinal effects of manipulation. Such research may help elucidate key mechanisms associated with the change of visceral disorders noted by some chiropractors following manipulative therapy.
A case is presented with clinical, thermographic and radiographic evaluations of concurrent dorsalgia and abdominal symptoms. The radiographs demonstrated the presence of a duodenal ulcer, and the thermographs were interpreted as confirming the presence of thoracic and abdominal dysfunction. The patient’s chiropractic management is outlined. The possible inter-relationship between the visceral pathology and spinal dysfunction is discussed. The case allows exploration of the unresolved issues of the clinical significance of somatovisceral/viscerosomatic reflex pathways and of their assessment by thermography.
chiropractic; dorsalgia; peptic ulcer; manipulation; thermography; viscerogenic pain
Recent research on the “embodiment of emotion” implies that experiencing an emotion may involve perceptual, somatovisceral, and motor feedback aspects. For example, manipulations of facial expression and posture appear to induce emotional states and influence how affective information is processed. The present study investigates whether performance monitoring, a cognitive process known to be under heavy control of the dopaminergic system, is modulated by induced facial expressions. In particular, we focused on the error-related negativity, an electrophysiological correlate of performance monitoring.
During a choice reaction task, participants held a Chinese chop stick either horizontally between the teeth (“smile” condition) or, in different runs, vertically (“no smile”) with the upper lip. In a third control condition, no chop stick was used (“no stick”). It could be shown on a separate sample that the facial feedback procedure is feasible to induce mild changes in positive affect. In the ERP sample, the smile condition, hypothesized to lead to an increase in dopaminergic activity, was associated with a decrease of ERN amplitude relative to “no smile” and “no stick” conditions.
Embodying emotions by induced facial expressions leads to a changes in the neural correlates of error detection. We suggest that this is due to the joint influence of the dopaminergic system on positive affect and performance monitoring.
This editorial provides an overview of this Thematic Series of the journal titled Chiropractic Care for Children. In commissioning this series of articles we aimed to bring the busy clinician up to date with the current best evidence in key aspects of evaluation and management of chiropractic care for children. Individual articles address a chiropractic approach to the management of children, chiropractic care of musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents, chiropractic care of non-musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents, chiropractic care for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and possible adverse effects from chiropractic management of children. The final article by Charlotte Leboeuf-Yde and Lise Hestbæk is an overview of the current state of the evidence and future research opportunities for chiropractic care for children. We conclude this editorial discussing the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary research relevant to chiropractic care of children and the implications for chiropractic practice.
Not enough is understood about patients’ views of chiropractic care. The aims of this research were to explore patients’ experiences and expectations, their perceptions of benefits and risks, and the implications for chiropractors’ continuing fitness to practise.
Survey questions were formulated from existing literature, published guidance on good practice from the General Chiropractic Council, and from 28 telephone interviews and a small focus group with chiropractic patients using a semi-structured topic guide. In its final form, the survey elicited patients’ ratings on expectations regarding 33 aspects of care. In a national cross-sectional survey, a number of sampling methods were required as a consequence of the low practitioner response rate.
In total, 544 completed questionnaires were received from chiropractic patients, a lower response rate than expected (8%). The two main benefits that patients reported regarding their chiropractic care were reduced pain (92%) and increased mobility (80%). Of respondents, 20% reported unexpected or unpleasant reactions to their treatment, most commonly tiredness or fatigue (32%), and extra pain (36%). In most cases they expressed low levels of concern about these reactions. Patients’ expectations were met for most aspects of care. The four aspects of practice where expectations were least well met comprised: having more information on the cost of the treatment plan at the first consultation (80%); the chiropractor contacting the patient’s general practitioner if necessary (62%); having a discussion about a referral to another healthcare practitioner (62%); and providing a method for confidential feedback (66%).
Overall, patients reported a high level of satisfaction with the benefits of their chiropractic care, although there is a likelihood of bias towards patients with a positive experience of chiropractic. There were no serious adverse reactions; however, patients reported concern about pain, tingling and numbness in the limbs after chiropractic. In general, patients’ expectations were being well met.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0049-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chiropractic; Patients’ expectations; Patients’ experiences; Risk; Benefit; Fitness to practice
To describe a common musculoskeletal disorder from a chiropractic management prospective, subsequently to stimulate further research into the chiropractic therapeutic effects on such cases and to contribute to chiropractic literature.
A 27-year-old, 76” male student often involved in athletic activities, had a sudden onset of continuous localized pain in the medial aspect of the mid and forefoot on the right side for 1-and-a half months. The onset of pain was related to an accidental injury while playing basketball. The pain worsened every time during and after playing basketball and other weight-bearing activities such as walking upstairs and is palliated with physical rest. He tried Biofreeze and ice application for several times immediately after the injuries which help to some extent to relieve pain and swelling, but he did not seek any other professional care. The condition had been improving slowly even before he came to the clinic although the patient described the pain as 5/10 on the Borg pain scale when he came to the clinic for the first time. The characteristic local findings were a mildly hyper-pronated right foot, mildly asymmetric soft-tissue and bony contours, tenderness, stiffness and decreased range of motion (ROM) at the first metatarsophalangel and adjacent joints on the medial aspect of the midfoot decreased fluid motions in the concerned joints on the chiropractic evaluation and some abnormal wearing in the shoes.
Intervention and Outcome
He was managed with chiropractic manipulation combined with other conservative measures. Range of motion (ROM), Borg Pain Scale and an orthopedic test (Morton's Test) were used as the outcome measures. The subject showed a favorable response to the conservative (chiropractic) care.
Although hallux rigidus is one of the most common musculoskeletal degenerative conditions, our conservative management received a favorable response but there has been little discussion about it in chiropractic literature. It can be hypothesized that the progress of Hallux Rigidus (HR) can be reversed or halted by chiropractic management provided it is started at the early stage of the disease.
Hallux Rigidus; Degenerative Joint Disease; First Metatarsophalangeal Disorders; Chiropractic Manipulation; Rehabilitation
Somatovisceral reflex suggested that the somatic stimulation could affect visceral function like acupuncture which treats diseases by stimulating acupoints. The neuronal connection between somatic point and visceral organ was not clear. Uterine pain referred to the groin region has long been recognized clinically. Wesselmann, using neurogenic plasma extravasation method, showed that uterine pain was referred to the groin region through a neuronal mechanism (Wesselmann and Lai 1997). This connection could be considered through the somatovisceral reflex pathway. However, the relay center of this pathway is still not clearly identified. In the present study, bee venom was injected in the groin region to induce central Fos expression to map the sensory innervation of groin region. Pseudorabies virus (PrV), a transneuronal tracer, was injected in the uterus to identify the higher motor control of the uterus. Immunohistochemistry staining revealed the Fos expression and PrV-infected double-labeled neurons in the nucleus of solitary tract (NTS), the dorsal motor nucleus of vagus (DMX), and the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN). These results suggest a somatoparasympathetic neuronal connection (groin-spinal dorsal horn-NTS/DMX-uterus) and a somatosympathetic neuronal connection (groin-spinal dorsal horn-NTS-PVN-uterus). These two neuronal connections could be the prerequisites to the neuronal basis of the somatovisceral reflex and also the neuronal mechanism of acupuncture.
Research into attitudes about chiropractors who are no longer engaged in active clinical practice is non-existent. Yet non-practicing chiropractors (NPCs) represent a valid sub-group worthy of study.
The purpose of this research was to assess attrition attitudes of NPCs about the chiropractic profession and develop a scale to assess such attitudes.
A 48 item survey was developed using the PsychData software. This survey included 35 Likert-style items assessing various aspects of the profession namely financial, educational, psychosocial and political. An internet discussion site where NPCs may be members was accessed for recruitment purposes.
A total of 70 valid responses were received for analysis. A majority of respondents were male with 66% being in non-practice status for 3 to 5 years and less with 43% indicating that they had graduated since the year 2000. Most respondents were employed either in other healthcare professions and non-chiropractic education. A majority of NPCs believed that business ethics in chiropractic were questionable and that overhead expense and student loans were factors in practice success. A majority of NPCs were in associate practice at one time with many believing that associates were encouraged to prolong the care of patients and that associate salaries were not fair. Most NPCs surveyed believed that chiropractic was not a good career choice and would not recommend someone to become a chiropractor. From this survey, a 12 item scale was developed called the "chiropractor attrition attitude scale" for future research. Reliability analysis of this novel scale demonstrated a coefficient alpha of 0.90.
The low response rate indicates that findings cannot be generalized to the NPC population. This study nonetheless demonstrates that NPCs attrition attitudes can be assessed. The lack of a central database of NPCs is a challenge to future research. Appropriate investigation of attrition within the chiropractic profession would be helpful in the analysis of attitudes regarding both chiropractic education and practice. Further research is needed in this area.
The objective of this study was to characterize the practice of pediatric chiropractic.
The study design was a cross-sectional descriptive survey.
The settings were private practices throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
The participants were 548 chiropractors, the majority of whom are practicing in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Main outcome measures
Practitioner demographics (i.e., gender, years in practice, and chiropractic alma mater), practice characteristics (i.e., patient visits per week, practice income reimbursement), and chiropractic technique were surveyed. The practitioners were also asked to indicate common indicators for pediatric presentation, their practice activities (i.e., use of herbal remedies, exercise and rehabilitation, prayer healing, etc.), and referral patterns.
A majority of the responders were female with an average practice experience of 8 years. They attended an average of 133 patient visits per week, with 21% devoted to the care of children (<18 years of age). Practice income was derived primarily from out-of-pocket reimbursement with charges of an average of $127 and $42 for the first and subsequent visits, respectively. These visits were reimbursed to address common conditions of childhood (i.e., asthma, ear infections, etc.). Approach to patient care was spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) augmented with herbal remedies, exercises, rehabilitation, and so on. Wellness care also figured prominently as a motivator for chiropractic care. Fifty-eight percent (58%) indicated an established relationship with an osteopathic or medical physician. Eighty percent (80%) of the responders indicated referring patients to medical practitioners while only 29% indicated receiving a referral from a medical/osteopathic physician.
The chiropractic care of children is a significant aspect of the practice of chiropractic. Further research is warranted to examine the safety and effectiveness of this popular nonallopathic approach to children's health.
Purpose: Research encompassing the characteristics of chiropractic students is limited. The purpose of our study was to evaluate a current chiropractic student population enrolled at a chiropractic college concerning demographics, expectations, and beliefs. Methods: A 44-item survey was administered to volunteer participants. Direct verbal interaction in a classroom setting to potential participants was the recruitment strategy used. Data were collected and stored on a safe network. Percentages for all responses were calculated and means were recorded where appropriate. Results: A total of 664 students participated of 877 potential eligible candidates (75%). The respondents tended to be 21–25 years of age, Caucasian, and male. Most respondents expected to work in a private practice immediately following graduation and anticipated an annual income of at least $100,000 eventually. Respondents preferred the retaining of the term, “subluxation,” and identified the importance of new and emerging scientific data. Additionally, respondents held the viewpoint that some non-musculoskeletal diseases can be treated effectively with spinal manipulation as a primary treatment. Conclusions: The majority of chiropractic students in our study were represented by specific demographic characteristics, and a strong favoritism toward the expectations of working in a private practice setting and earning at least $100,000 per year at some point in their career. Distinct beliefs are shared between chiropractic students and practicing chiropractors in North America, and certain aspects of students in our study are comparable to chiropractic students in similar studies.
Attitude; Chiropractic; Cross Sectional Survey; Education; Students
Evidence-based clinical practice (EBCP) is a practice model gaining prominence within healthcare, including the chiropractic profession. The status of EBCP has been evaluated in a variety of healthcare disciplines, but little is known regarding the attitudes doctors of chiropractic (DCs) hold toward this model of healthcare. This project examines the attitudes toward EBCP within a specialty discipline of DCs.
We identified a survey questionnaire previously used to evaluate EBCP among non-chiropractic complementary and alternative practitioners. We adapted this questionnaire for use among DCs and pretested it in 5 chiropractic college faculty. The final version was administered to DCs with diplomate-level training in orthopedics. The survey was emailed to 299 potential participants; descriptive results were calculated.
144 surveys were returned, resulting in a 48% response rate. The majority of respondents perceived EBCP as an important aspect of chiropractic practice. Respondents also believed themselves to have an above average skill level in EBCP, reported that training originated from their diplomate education, and based the majority of their practice on clinical research.
Doctors of chiropractic with an orthopedic diplomate appear to have favorable attitudes toward EBCP. Further study will help understand EBCP perceptions among general field DCs. A logical next step includes validation of this questionnaire.
Evidence based practice; Cross-sectional study; Chiropractic; Survey
The purpose of this article is to present select concepts and theories of bureaucratic structures and functions so that chiropractic physicians and other health care professionals can use them in their respective practices. The society-culture-personality model can be applied as an organizational instrument for assisting chiropractors in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients irrespective of locality.
Society-culture-personality and social meaningful interaction are examined in relationship to the structural and functional aspects of bureaucracy within the health care institution of a society. Implicit in the examination of the health care bureaucratic structures and functions of a society is the focus that chiropractic physicians and chiropractic students learn how to integrate, synthesize, and actualize values and virtues such as empathy, integrity, excellence, diversity, compassion, caring, and understanding with a deep commitment to self-reflection.
It is essential that future and current chiropractic physicians be aware of the structural and functional aspects of an organization so that chiropractic and other health care professionals are able to deliver care that involves the ingredients of quality, affordability, availability, accessibility, and continuity for their patients.
Improving the health of Indigenous Australians remains a major challenge. A chiropractic service was established to evaluate this treatment option for musculoskeletal illness in rural Indigenous communities, based on the philosophy of keeping the community involved in all the phases of development, implementation, and evaluation. The development and integration of this service has experienced many difficulties with referrals, funding and building sustainability. Evaluation of the program was a key aspect of its implementation, requiring an appropriate process to identify specific problems and formulate solutions to improve the service.
We used the normalisation process model (May 2006) to order the data collected in consultation meetings and to inform our strategy and actions. The normalisation process model provided us with a structure for organising consultation meeting data and helped prioritise tasks. Our data was analysed as it applied to each dimension of the model, noting aspects that the model did not encompass. During this process we reworded the dimensions into more everyday terminology. The final analysis focused on to what extent the model helped us to prioritise and systematise our tasks and plans.
We used the model to consider ways to promote the chiropractic service, to enhance relationships and interactions between clinicians and procedures within the health service, and to avoid disruption of the existing service. We identified ways in which chiropractors can become trusted team members who have acceptable and recognised knowledge and skills. We also developed strategies that should result in chiropractic practitioners finding a place within a complex occupational web, by being seen as similar to well-known occupations such as physiotherapy. Interestingly, one dimension identified by our data, which we have labelled ‘emancipatory’, was absent from the model.
The normalisation process model has resulted in a number of new insights and questions. We have now established thriving weekly chiropractic clinics staffed by a team of volunteer chiropractors. We identified an ‘emancipatory’ dimension that requires further study. We provide a worked example of using this model to establish, integrate and evaluate a chiropractic service in an Indigenous Australian community.
A cardinal characteristic of any profession is self-regulation. It is argued in the present paper that chiropractic has now reached a level of professional maturity that indicates the need for the final aspect of self-regulation: a standardized selection approach into professional schools or colleges. Quality control of membership can then begin at the entry point into the profession. An admission test - the Chiropractic College Admission Test (CCAT) - is proposed and outlined for use for the selection of candidates into chiropractic colleges. Such a test would be beneficial for students applying to the colleges, regulatory and licensing boards, to the profession as a whole, to the chiropractic colleges, to other professions, and to government as well as the general public. The proposed CCAT contains elements that are general to many health professions such as knowledge of the biological and physical sciences, verbal and linguistic reasoning and visual perceptual ability. The test, however, is proposed to have elements that are unique to chiropractic. Based on the performance of other admission tests (e.g. Dental Admission Test, Medical College Admission Test), it is argued that the CCAT could be constructed and used to have the highest technical properties of validity and reliability. Such a test would become an integral tool in maintaining quality assurance, beginning at the earliest point of the profession.
chiropractic; education; admission tests; test validity
To continue positive professional growth and boost research endeavors, chiropractic institutions need to develop a research-oriented foundation and produce a larger body of researchers. The purpose of this study was to provide a current analysis of the research culture among students at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida. This study will gain insight toward the research contributions of the next generation of chiropractors and identify the difficulties toward participation. This will help modify current academic programs to better foster research and ensure a promising, credible future for the chiropractic profession.
Participants were students at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida enrolled in quarters 1 through 12 during the 2008 summer term. To evaluate the research culture, participants were asked to complete a 33-item web-based survey.
A total of 303 students completed the survey. Forty-four percent were female, and the mean age was 26 (SD = 4.2). Ninety-nine percent of respondents agreed that research was necessary for positive growth within the chiropractic profession. A majority of students reported having research experience, and 58% planned to participate in research activities prior to graduation. Technical writing was reported as the most challenging aspect of research, and heavy academic workload was reported as the greatest deterrent to participation.
This study expresses possibilities for building a strong research culture at the college. Students were aware of the necessity for research and were openly interested in conducting research. Modification of current academic policies will allow for greater student research opportunities and the development of tomorrow's researchers.
Attitude; Chiropractic; Education; Research; Students
In 2009, the heads of the Executive Council of the European Chiropractors' Union (ECU) and the European Academy of Chiropractic (EAC) involved in the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) process for the chiropractic profession, set out to establish European guidelines for the reporting of adverse reactions to chiropractic treatment. There were a number of reasons for this: first, to improve the overall quality of patient care by aiming to reduce the application of potentially harmful interventions and to facilitate the treatment of patients within the context of achieving maximum benefit with a minimum risk of harm; second, to inform the training objectives for the Graduate Education and Continuing Professional Development programmes of all 19 ECU member nations, regarding knowledge and skills to be acquired for maximising patient safety; and third, to develop a guideline on patient safety incident reporting as it is likely to be part of future CEN standards for ECU member nations.
To introduce patient safety incident reporting within the context of chiropractic practice in Europe and to help individual countries and their national professional associations to develop or improve reporting and learning systems.
Providing health care of any kind, including the provision of chiropractic treatment, can be a complex and, at times, a risky activity. Safety in healthcare cannot be guaranteed, it can only be improved. One of the most important aspects of any learning and reporting system lies in the appropriate use of the data and information it gathers. Reporting should not just be seen as a vehicle for obtaining information on patient safety issues, but also be utilised as a tool to facilitate learning, advance quality improvement and to ultimately minimise the rate of the occurrence of errors linked to patient care.
Before a reporting and learning system can be established it has to be clear what the objectives of the system are, what resources will be required and whether the implementing organisation has the capacity to operate the system to its full advantage. Responding to adverse event reports requires the availability of experts to analyse the incidents and to provide feedback in a timely fashion. A comprehensive strategy for national implementation must be in place including, but not limited to, presentations at national meetings, the provision of written information to all practitioners and the running of workshops, so that all stakeholders fully understand the purposes of adverse event reporting. Unless this is achieved, any system runs the risk of failure, or at the very least, limited usefulness.
Visceral sensory afferents during disease or following injury often produce vague, diffuse body sensations and pain referred to somatic targets. Alternatively, injury due to trauma or disease of somatic nerve targets can also lead to referred pain in visceral targets via a somatovisceral reflex. Both phenomenons are thought to be due to convergence of visceral and somatic afferents within the spinal cord. To investigate a potential peripheral influence for referred pain in visceral targets following somatic nerve injury, we examined whether a sciatic nerve injury known to produce known to produce hindpaw tactile hyperalgesia alters the frequency of micturition and the sensitivity of bladder-associated sensory neurons to pro-nociceptive chemokines. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats received injections of cholera toxin b subunit conjugated to 555 into urinary bladder wall to retrogradely label visceral primary afferent neurons. Seven days later, the right sciatic nerve of these animals was subjected to a lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC)-induced focal demyelination injury. Pre- and post-injury tactile sensitivity in the hind paw and micturition frequency were assayed. Animals were allowed to survive for 14–28 days. Lumbosacral and lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG) ipsilateral to the nerve injury were acutely dissociated from sham and nerve injured animals. Bladder wall-associated sensory neurons identified via the retrograde marker were assayed for fluxes in intracellular calcium following administration of pro-nociceptive chemokines. The assayed chemokines included monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP1/CCL2) and stromal cell derived factor-1 alpha (SDF1/CXCL12). LPC nerve injured animals exhibited tactile hyperalgesia and increased micturition frequency for at least 28 days. Focal demyelination of the sciatic nerve also increased the number of injured L4L5 and non-injured L6-S2 bladder-associated sensory neurons that responded to MCP1 and SDF1 when compared with sensory neurons derived from uninjured naïve and sham-injured control animals. Taken together, this data suggests that some visceral hypersensitivity states may have a somatic origin. More importantly, nociceptive somatovisceral sensation may be mediated by upregulation of chemokine signaling in visceral sensory neurons.
somatic nerve injury; chemokine; sensory neuron; bladder
Hypotheses on somatovisceral dysfunction often assume interference by stretch or compression of the nerve supply to visceral structures. The purpose of this study is to examine the potential of pelvic visceral movement to create tension of the loose connective tissue that contains the fine branches of the inferior hypogastric nerve plexus.
Twenty eight embalmed human cadavers were examined. Pelvic visceral structures were displaced by very gentle 5 N unidirectional tension and the associated movement of the endopelvic fascia containing the inferior hypogastric plexus that this caused was measured.
Most movement of the fascia containing the inferior hypogastric plexus was obtained by pulling the rectosigmoid junction or broad ligament of the uterus. The plexus did not cross any vertebral joints and the fascia containing it did not move on pulling the hypogastric nerve.
Uterine and rectosigmoid displacement produce most movement of the fascia containing the hypogastric nerve plexus, potentially resulting in nerve tension. In the living this might occur as a consequence of menstruation, pregnancy or constipation. This may be relevant to somatovisceral reflex theories of the effects of manual therapy on visceral conditions.
Cadaver; Endopelvic fascia; Inferior hypogastric plexus; Somatovisceral
Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of administrative data.
To examine the relationship between regional chiropractic supply and both use and utilization intensity of chiropractic services among Medicare beneficiaries.
Summary of Background Data
Numerous studies have documented trends and patterns in the utilization of chiropractic services in the United States, but little is known about geographic variation in the relationship between chiropractic supply and utilization.
We analyzed Medicare claims data for services provided by chiropractic physicians in 2008. We aggregated the data to the hospital referral region level and employed small area analysis techniques to generate descriptive statistics. We mapped geographic variations in chiropractic supply, use and utilization intensity (treatments per user) and quantified the variation by coefficient of variation and extremal ratio. We employed Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient to correlate use with supply. We employed a logistic regression model for chiropractic use and a multiple linear regression model for chiropractic utilization intensity.
The average regional supply of chiropractic physicians was 21.5 per 100,000 adult capita. The average percentage of beneficiaries who used chiropractic was approximately 7.6 (SD 3.9). The average utilization intensity was 10.6 (SD 1.8). Regional chiropractic supply varied more than 14 fold, and chiropractic use varied more than 17 fold. Chiropractic supply and use were positively correlated (Spearman’s rho 0.68; p<.001). A low back or cervical spine problem was strongly associated with chiropractic use (OR 21.6 and 14.3, respectively). Increased chiropractic supply was associated with increased chiropractic use (OR 1.04), but not with increased chiropractic utilization intensity.
Both the supply of chiropractors and the utilization of chiropractic by older US adults varied widely by region. Increased chiropractic supply was associated with increased chiropractic use, but not with increased chiropractic utilization intensity. Utilization of chiropractic care is likely sensitive to both supply and patient preference.
Chiropractic; Spinal Manipulation; Medicare
The philosophy of chiropractic has always been regarded as an integral and indispensable component of the curriculum at chiropractic colleges. This study describes a review process in which instruments were designed to survey students and faculty to obtain information concerning curricular aspects of philosophy at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Approximately one half of the student body (N = 292) and sixty percent of the full-time and part-time faculty members (N = 66) responded to the surveys. The students who were surveyed indicated that philosophy was a very important part of their chiropractic education and they felt that their needs in this regard were not being met by the present program. Further, they perceived most faculty as being unappreciative of philosophy. The results from the faculty survey were at odds with the students’ perceptions and indicated that the faculty members were favourably disposed towards philosophy and felt that it should be an integral part of the students’ educational experience. The information gained from these surveys was subsequently used as a catalyst to stimulate discussion in a series of student/faculty focus groups on philosophy. These discussions helped to clarify some curricular philosophical issues and resulted in specific modifications to the philosophy program in the areas of content, format, faculty, and evaluation methods.
chiropractic; philosophy; curriculum
Current provincial legislation in various jurisdictions across Canada, serves to impede the utilization of the diagnostic laboratory by doctors of chiropractic. Chiropractic students both in Canada and the United States, are required to successfully complete an intensive course of study in the area of laboratory diagnosis, as a necessary aspect of the undergraduate educational curriculum. Unfortunately, Canadian graduate doctors of chiropractic and their patients, are not currently afforded the privilege of direct referral to a community diagnostic laboratory. Rather, chiropractors must enlist the assistance of other health care providers, namely medical doctors, to acquire various laboratory testing procedures. The premise of this paper is intended to demonstrate the necessity of revising such laws, in order to address the needs of those health care consumers who seek the services of the rapidly growing profession of chiropractic. Two clinical cases are presented as illustrative examples.
chiropractic; manipulation; legislation; laboratory; diagnosis
Private insurance plans typically reimburse doctors of chiropractic for a range of clinical services, but Medicare reimbursements are restricted to spinal manipulation procedures. Medicare pays for evaluations performed by medical and osteopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, podiatrists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists; however, it does not reimburse the same services provided by chiropractic physicians. Advocates for expanded coverage of chiropractic services under Medicare cite clinical effectiveness and patient satisfaction, whereas critics point to unnecessary services, inadequate clinical documentation, and projected cost increases. To further inform this debate, the purpose of this commentary is to address the following questions: (1) What are the barriers to expand coverage for chiropractic services? (2) What could potentially be done to address these issues? (3) Is there a rationale for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand coverage for chiropractic services?
A literature search was conducted of Google and PubMed for peer-reviewed articles and US government reports relevant to the provision of chiropractic care under Medicare. We reviewed relevant articles and reports to identify key issues concerning the expansion of coverage for chiropractic under Medicare, including identification of barriers and rationale for expanded coverage.
The literature search yielded 29 peer-reviewed articles and 7 federal government reports. Our review of these documents revealed 3 key barriers to full coverage of chiropractic services under Medicare: inadequate documentation of chiropractic claims, possible provision of unnecessary preventive care services, and the uncertain costs of expanded coverage. Our recommendations to address these barriers include the following: individual chiropractic physicians, as well as state and national chiropractic organizations, should continue to strengthen efforts to improve claims and documentation practices; and additional rigorous efficacy/effectiveness research and clinical studies for chiropractic services need to be performed. Research of chiropractic services should target the triple aim of high-quality care, affordability, and improved health.
The barriers that were identified in this study can be addressed. To overcome these barriers, the chiropractic profession and individual physicians must assume responsibility for correcting deficiencies in compliance and documentation; further research needs to be done to evaluate chiropractic services; and effectiveness of extended episodes of preventive chiropractic care should be rigorously evaluated. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policies related to chiropractic reimbursement should be reexamined using the same standards applicable to other health care providers. The integration of chiropractic physicians as fully engaged Medicare providers has the potential to enhance the capacity of the Medicare workforce to care for the growing population. We recommend that Medicare policy makers consider limited expansion of Medicare coverage to include, at a minimum, reimbursement for evaluation and management services by chiropractic physicians.
Chiropractic; Medicare; Spinal manipulation; Public policy; Health policy; Health care reform
Medicare covers chiropractic care, but the health-care community knows little about the demographic characteristics of older adults who use chiropractic services under the Medicare program. Researchers do not know the demographic composition of chiropractic users under Medicare, how the demographics of chiropractic use and rates of use have changed over time, and how users' characteristics vary geographically across the United States. An understanding of the demographics of chiropractic users can help chiropractic organizations, policy makers, and other stakeholders plan for an equitable allocation of resources to meet the chiropractic health-care needs of all of Medicare's beneficiaries.
The study intended to evaluate Medicare administrative data to determine (1) longitudinal trends in the demographic composition of the population that used chiropractic services, (2) longitudinal trends in rates of chiropractic use by demographic group, and (3) geographic variations in chiropractic use among minorities.
The research team used a serial cross-sectional design to analyze administrative data for beneficiaries of Medicare during the years 2002 to 2008, using a 20% random sample that provided those beneficiaries' racial and geographical characteristics. The team restricted the study's actual sample to adults aged 65 to 99 and defined chiropractic users as beneficiaries who had at least one paid claim for chiropractic care on a date of service in an analyzed calendar year.
For each state in the United States and the District of Columbia for each of the 7 years studied, the team determined the number of chiropractic users in total and the number of users in selected demographic categories and calculated percentage estimates and averages for each category. The team analyzed 2008 data for rates of use within racial groups and for geographic variations in those rates and quantified variations in rates by state using the coeffcient of variation (CV). The team mapped race-specific rates for selected minorities, categorized by quintiles, to illustrate geographic variations by state.
Analysis by beneficiary's race showed that the proportion of chiropractic users who were white hovered at 96% to 97% throughout the time period studied, while 1% to 2% were black. Each of the other racial categories comprised 1% or less of users, and the percentages showed little change over time. Rates among racial minorities showed greater geographic variation than did rates for whites. The greatest geographic variations in use by specific racial minorities occurred among Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.
The research team's results showed little longitudinal variation in the demographics of chiropractic use under Medicare but a striking difference in rates of use between whites and minorities, and substantial geographic variations in user rates among racial minorities. The research team's findings suggest the possibility that barriers may exist for minorities' access to chiropractic care. As minority populations in the US continue to grow, the health-care community can expect that any impact on population health that these barriers cause will grow as well.
Many health science research and review articles end with the words: "More research is needed". However, when it comes to research, it is not as much a question of quantity as of quality. There are a number of important prerequisites before research should be initiated. The three pillars, relevance, quality and ethics should be respected but for a project to be meaningful, it must also be based on plausible rationale.
In evidence-based (informed) practice, one takes into account not only research-based evidence but also clinical expertise and the patients' perspectives. In this paper, we briefly discuss how this should be handled in clinical practice is briefly discussed, using the concept of "traffic lights" (red, yellow, green). We explain how the combination of evidence and plausibility can be used to reach a decision as to whether a treatment or diagnostic procedure is suitable, possible, or unsuitable.
In this thematic series of Chiropractic & Osteopathy a number of reviews are presented, in which the research status of pediatric chiropractic is scrutinized and found wanting. Two important aspects were studied in these reviews: the effect of treatment and safety issues. Two types of problems were identified: the lack of research in general and the lack of research using the appropriate study designs and methodology in particular. Therefore, we discuss the meager research noted in the areas of chiropractic care in children and the clinical consequences this should have. The prerequisites for "more research" are scrutinized and an example given of suitable research programs.
Finally, the important issue of implementation of research findings is covered, emphasizing the responsibility of all stakeholders involved at both the undergraduate and the postgraduate level, within professional associations, and on an individual level.
This pilot study was designed to investigate the relationship between chiropractic students' learning and study strategies and academic performance. Differences in strategic learning between chiropractic students with higher grade points averages (GPAs) and those with lower GPAs have not been previously reported.
Fifty-seven consenting first-trimester chiropractic students self-administered the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI). Differences between high and low GPA groups were evaluated for 10 subtests and three factors using independent samples t-tests.
The high GPA group scored significantly higher (p < .05) on LASSI subtests Anxiety, Attitude, Concentration, Motivation, Test Strategies, and Selecting Main Ideas, and on factors Effort-Related Activities and Goal Orientation. No differences between groups were found for subtests Information Processing, Self-Testing, Study Aids, and Time Management or for the Cognitive Activities factor.
The results of this study show that differences in LASSI subtest and factor scores are associated with academic performance. For the participants studied, motivational and affective aspects of strategic learning contributed to higher academic performance, whereas cognitive strategies did not. Higher performing students utilized Effort-Related and Goal Orientation learning strategies at significantly higher levels than lower performing students. The LASSI may be useful in identifying students who could benefit from learning and study skills development. Longitudinal study is recommended to investigate the effects of students' learning and study strategies on different academic content domains as well as the effects of strategic study and learning skills training on academic performance.
Chiropractic; Education; Education; Medical; Learning; Study Skills