Chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths receive training in the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal conditions. As a result there is considerable overlap in the types of conditions that are encountered clinically by these practitioners. In Australia, the majority of benefits paid for these services come from the private sector. The purpose of this article is to quantify and describe the development in service utilization and the cost of benefits paid to users of these healthcare services by private health insurers. An exploration of the factors that may have influenced the observed trends is also presented.
A review of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Administration Council was conducted. An analysis of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathic service utilisation and cost of service utilisation trend was performed along with the level of benefits and services over time.
In 2012, the number of physiotherapists working in the private sector was 2.9 times larger than that of chiropractic, and 7.8 times that of the osteopathic profession. The total number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths increased steadily over the past 15 years. For the majority of this period, chiropractors provided more services than the other two professions. The average number of services provided by chiropractors was approximately two and a half times that of physiotherapists and four and a half times that of osteopaths.
This study highlights a clear disparity in the average number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths in the private sector in Australia over the last 15 years. Further research is required to explain these observed differences and to determine whether a similar trend exists in patients who do not have private health insurance cover.
Chiropractic; Physiotherapy; Osteopathy; Allied health; Healthcare utilisation
While there are studies that describe the patient demographics of both Australian and American chiropractic clinics, such information appears difficult to find for physiotherapy or osteopathic clinics comparative data of any kind doesn't appear to exist. This study attempted to provide this data for Australian practices and to analyse any similarities or differences between populations.
Results obtained for chiropractors and osteopaths would appear to suggest that there may be significant differences between the diagnostic profiles of the two professions. Physiotherapists withdrew from the - process during data collection.
Suggestions are made relating to possible modifications I to the survey instrument and possible directions any future study might take.
Patients; statistics and numerical dam demography; utilisation; chiropractic; osteopathy; databases
The first edition of the Journal of the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia was known as COMSIG Review and was published in November, 1992 to coincide with a large conference that COCA had organised in Melbourne.
In the first few years the majority of articles were magazine style reviews, similar to these found in the Australian Family Physician. The first Editor was Bruce Walker and subsequent Editors have included John Drinkwater, Stephanie Campbell and John Reggars. The current Editors in Chief, Peter Tuchin and Henry Pollard, are staff members at Macquarie University, Centre of Chiropractic, with a strong background in science and research and both are currently undertaking post-graduate research degrees.
Over several years the magazine review style was changed in keeping with a more full journal format. An Editorial Board was formed, comprised of chiropractors, osteopaths and medical practitioners, some of whom are world renowned in their particular field of research.
By March, 1996 it was decided to change the name of the journal to Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy (ACO). This was a purposeful move to reflect the maturing of the journal and also the growth of the College and in the five years since November 1992, seventy-nine scientific articles have been published.
It is anticipated that the journal will continue to be widely distributed throughout the world, with current subscriptions from all Australian undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic institutions and the vast majority of international undergraduate institutions.
ACO is currently indexed with Mantis (formerly Chirolars). The Editorial Panel continue to strive for Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy inclusion into Index Medicus and thereby Medline. However, it is recognised that readership of chiropractic journals is very low throughout the world and it is unlikely in the near future that any chiropractic journal other than the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics will be included in Index Medicus.
The lack of mainstream international indexing will not stop or prevent the College from producing a first rate journal into the future years of the professions. In fact with the now steady growth in Australian chiropractic and osteopathic research, it is envisaged that ACO will be Australia's leading professional journal. We trust our membership enjoy reading the journal and find many of its articles instructional.
We look forward to any comments from members relating to the production of the journal and any suggestions will be welcomed.
Australasian Chiropractic Osteopathy; journal
For chiropractors and osteopaths after graduation, the learning process continues by way of experience and continuing education (CE). The provision of CE and other vocational services in Queensland between 1996 and 2002 is the subject of this paper.
The Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia (COCA) implemented a plan, which involved continuing education, with speakers from a broad variety of health provider areas; and the introduction of the concepts of evidence-based practice. The plan also involved building membership.
Membership of COCA in Queensland grew from 3 in June 1996 to 167 in 2002. There were a total of 25 COCA symposia in the same period. Evidence-based health care was introduced and attendees were generally satisfied with the conferences.
The development of a vocational body (COCA) for chiropractors and osteopaths in Queensland was achieved. Registrants in the field have supported an organisation that concentrates on the vocational aspects of their practice.
Chiropractic; osteopathy; continuing education; vocational education; evidence-based practice; Queensland
Objective: To assess the attitudes of undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1992 on the education they are receiving and on the effectiveness of chiropractic and osteopathic care.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive survey.
Participants: Undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students enrolled at RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1992.
Results: This study surveyed 272 students, 196 who were chiropractic students and 76 who were osteopathic students from RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in Melbourne, Australia. The students that responded represented 73.4% of chiropractic students and 85.4% of osteopathic students currently enrolled in their respective courses. Chiropractic and osteopathic students entered their respective courses from non-chiropractic/non-osteopathic families. More chiropractic students than osteopathic students (1.3:1.0) had their respective course as their first choice when applying for tertiary education. A majority (95.8 chiropractic students and 94.8% osteopathic students) of both groups surveyed were pleased with their choice of course. Students from both disciplines held considerable respect for each other in the care of certain conditions, but did not see the other profession’s care as effective as their own. A greater percentage of osteopathic students believed there was sufficient difference between chiropractic and osteopathy to justify two separate professions (57.6% compared to 97.2%).
Discussion: High quality education is a major aim in our schools and colleges. For this standard to be maintained it requires continual re-evaluation and assessment. Surveys such as this should be performed regularly as a method of evaluating student attitude and how these attitudes change during the course. This would also allow administrators to determine whether they are achieving their academic intentions. An immediate follow up survey asking the same questions is suggested to ascertain whether the same attitudes exist today.
Chiropractic; osteopathic medicine; education; students; attitude
This article is the second in a series of articles dealing with risk management in the practise of chiropractic and osteopathy, prepared by the COCA Risk Management Subcommittee.
Background: Radiographic examination carries risks that must be weighed against the possible benefits when determining patient care.
Objective: The objective of this article is to propose guidelines for the use of imaging in chiropractic and osteopathic practice.
Discussion: Plain film radiography, CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other forms of imaging are available for use in chiropractic and osteopathic practice in Australia. The astute practitioner utilises these imaging procedures for clinical decision making in order to make an accurate diagnosis that will determine a patient’s management. This article attempts to guide the practitioner in the proper use of these imaging procedures for different regions of the body.
Chiropractic; risk management; osteopathy
Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques (OMT) have been shown to be effective therapeutic modalities in various clinical settings, but appear to be underutilized in the emergency department (ED) setting.
To examine barriers to the use of OMT in the ED and provide suggestions to ameliorate these barriers.
While the medical literature cites numerous obstacles to the use of OMT in the ED setting, most can be positively addressed through education, careful planning, and ongoing research into use of these techniques. Recent prospective clinical trials of OMT have demonstrated the utility of these modalities.
Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques are useful therapeutic modalities that could be utilized to a greater degree in the ED. As the number of osteopathic emergency physicians increases, the opportunity to employ these techniques should increase.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a distinctive modality commonly used by osteopathic physicians to complement their conventional treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Previous reviews and meta-analyses of spinal manipulation for low back pain have not specifically addressed OMT and generally have focused on spinal manipulation as an alternative to conventional treatment. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
Computerized bibliographic searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were supplemented with additional database and manual searches of the literature.
Six trials, involving eight OMT vs control treatment comparisons, were included because they were randomized controlled trials of OMT that involved blinded assessment of low back pain in ambulatory settings. Data on trial methodology, OMT and control treatments, and low back pain outcomes were abstracted by two independent reviewers. Effect sizes were computed using Cohen's d statistic and meta-analysis results were weighted by the inverse variance of individual comparisons. In addition to the overall meta-analysis, stratified meta-analyses were performed according to control treatment, country where the trial was conducted, and duration of follow-up. Sensitivity analyses were performed for both the overall and stratified meta-analyses.
Overall, OMT significantly reduced low back pain (effect size, -0.30; 95% confidence interval, -0.47 – -0.13; P = .001). Stratified analyses demonstrated significant pain reductions in trials of OMT vs active treatment or placebo control and OMT vs no treatment control. There were significant pain reductions with OMT regardless of whether trials were performed in the United Kingdom or the United States. Significant pain reductions were also observed during short-, intermediate-, and long-term follow-up.
OMT significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
Without systematic exposure to biomedical research concepts or applications, osteopathic medical students may be generally under-prepared to efficiently consume and effectively apply research and evidence-based medicine information in patient care. The academic literature suggests that although medical residents are increasingly expected to conduct research in their post graduate training specialties, they generally have limited understanding of research concepts.
With grant support from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and a grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is incorporating research education in the osteopathic medical school curriculum. The first phase of this research education project involved a baseline assessment of students' understanding of targeted research concepts. This paper reports the results of that assessment and discusses implications for research education during medical school.
Using a novel set of research competencies supported by the literature as needed for understanding research information, we created a questionnaire to measure students' confidence and understanding of selected research concepts. Three matriculating medical school classes completed the on-line questionnaire. Data were analyzed for differences between groups using analysis of variance and t-tests. Correlation coefficients were computed for the confidence and applied understanding measures. We performed a principle component factor analysis of the confidence items, and used multiple regression analyses to explore how confidence might be related to the applied understanding.
Of 496 total incoming, first, and second year medical students, 354 (71.4%) completed the questionnaire. Incoming students expressed significantly more confidence than first or second year students (F = 7.198, df = 2, 351, P = 0.001) in their ability to understand the research concepts. Factor analyses of the confidence items yielded conceptually coherent groupings. Regression analysis confirmed a relationship between confidence and applied understanding referred to as knowledge. Confidence scores were important in explaining variability in knowledge scores of the respondents.
Medical students with limited understanding of research concepts may struggle to understand the medical literature. Assessing medical students' confidence to understand and objectively measured ability to interpret basic research concepts can be used to incorporate competency based research material into the existing curriculum.
The objective of this review is to establish the current state of knowledge on the reliability of clinical assessment of asymmetry in the lumbar spine and pelvis. To search the literature, the authors consulted the databases of MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED, MANTIS, Academic Search Complete, and Web of Knowledge using different combinations of the following keywords: palpation, asymmetry, inter- or intraex-aminer reliability, tissue texture, assessment, and anatomic landmark. Of the 23 studies identified, 14 did not meet the inclusion criteria and were excluded. The quality and methods of studies investigating the reliability of bony anatomic landmark asymmetry assessment are variable. The κ statistic ranges without training for interexaminer reliability were as follows: anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), −0.01 to 0.19; posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS), 0.04 to 0.15; inferior lateral angle, transverse plane (ILA-A/P), −0.03 to 0.11; inferior lateral angles, coronal plane (ILA-S/I), −0.01 to 0.08; sacral sulcus (SS), −0.4 to 0.37; lumbar spine transverse processes L1 through L5, 0.04 to 0.17. The corresponding ranges for intraexaminer reliability were higher for all associated landmarks: ASIS, 0.19 to 0.4; PSIS, 0.13 to 0.49; ILA-A/P, 0.1 to 0.2; ILA-S/I, 0.03 to 0.21; SS, 0.24 to 0.28; lumbar spine transverse processes L1 through L5, not applicable. Further research is needed to better understand the reliability of asymmetry assessment methods in manipulative medicine.
Chronic Non Specific Low Back Pain (CNSLBP) is a common, complex and disabling condition that has been present for longer than three months and is not caused by a serious pathology. Osteopaths are health practitioners who commonly diagnose and treat CNSLBP patients using a complex set of interventions that includes manual therapy. The study aimed to complete a Systematic Review of clinical research into osteopathic intervention in CNSLBP using a rigorous assessment of study quality.
The literature was searched to August 2011 using the following databases: AMED, CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, MEDLINE Plus, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, PEDro, ScienceDirect. Multiple search terms were used in various combinations: osteopathy/osteopathic, osteopathic manipulative technique, OMT, Spinal Manipulative Therapy, SMT, clinical trial, back pain, chronic back pain. The inclusion criteria were papers that: reported clinical trials; had adult participants; tested the effectiveness and/or efficacy of osteopathic manual therapy intervention applied by osteopaths, and had a study condition of CNSLBP. The quality of the papers was assessed using the Cochrane Back Review Risk of Bias criteria. A meta-analysis would proceed if the studies had adequate clinical and methodological homogeneity.
Initial searches revealed 809 papers, 772 of which were excluded on the basis of abstract alone. The remaining 37 trial papers were subjected to a more detailed analysis of the full text, which resulted in 35 being excluded. The two remaining trials had a lack of methodological and clinical homogeneity, precluding a meta-analysis. The trials used different comparators with regards to the primary outcomes, the number of treatments, the duration of treatment and the duration of follow-up.
There are only two studies assessing the effect of the manual therapy intervention applied by osteopathic clinicians in adults with CNSLBP. One trial concluded that the osteopathic intervention was similar in effect to a sham intervention, and the other suggests similarity of effect between osteopathic intervention, exercise and physiotherapy. Further clinical trials into this subject are required that have consistent and rigorous methods. These trials need to include an appropriate control and utilise an intervention that reflects actual practice.
Systematic review; Osteopathy; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Low back pain; Chronic low back pain; Non-specific low back pain; Manual therapy; Clinical trial methodology
Patients’ expectations of osteopathic care have been little researched. The aim of this study was to quantify the most important expectations of patients in private UK osteopathic practices, and the extent to which those expectations were met or unmet.
The study involved development and application of a questionnaire about patients’ expectations of osteopathic care. The questionnaire drew on an extensive review of the literature and the findings of a prior qualitative study involving focus groups exploring the expectations of osteopathic patients. A questionnaire survey of osteopathic patients in the UK was then conducted. Patients were recruited from a random sample of 800 registered osteopaths in private practice across the UK. Patients were asked to complete the questionnaire which asked about 51 aspects of expectation, and post it to the researchers for analysis.
The main outcome measures were the patients-perceived level of expectation as assessed by the percentage of positive responses for each aspect of expectation, and unmet expectation as computed from the proportion responding that their expectation “did not happen”.
1649 sets of patient data were included in the analysis. Thirty five (69%) of the 51 aspects of expectation were prevalent, with listening, respect and information-giving ranking highest. Only 11 expectations were unmet, the most often unmet were to be made aware that there was a complaints procedure, to find it difficult to pay for osteopathic treatment, and perceiving a lack of communication between the osteopath and their GP.
The findings reflected the complexity of providing osteopathic care and meeting patients’ expectations. The results provided a generally positive message about private osteopathic practice. The study identified certain gaps between expectations and delivery of care, which can be used to improve the quality of care. The questionnaire is a resource for future research.
Questionnaires; Survey; Expectations; Musculoskeletal manipulations; Osteopathic medicine
Peer physical examination (PPE) is a method of training in medical and osteopathic curricula. The aim of this study was to compare the acceptability of PPE in two classes of medical and osteopathic students after their first experience, to obtain comparative information useful for an understanding of the different professional approaches. The leading hypothesis was that osteopathic students enter the curriculum with a more positive attitude to bodily contact.
As a secondary aim, this study validated the new version of a questionnaire to assess the acceptability of PPE.
A new version of a previously validated questionnaire and an instrument from the literature (the Examining Fellow Student [EFS] questionnaire) were used for a cross-sectional survey in a class of 129 3rd year medical students and in two parallel classes of 1st year osteopathic students (total of 112 students).
The mean score of the new questionnaire was significantly higher for the osteopathic students than for the medical students (53.4 ± 6.3 vs. 43.4 ± 8.9; p < 0.01). The only independent variables that were significantly predictive of the score in a linear regression analysis were gender and the condition of medical or osteopathic student. The EFS mean score also showed a significant difference between the osteopathic and medical students (30.76 ± 2.9 vs. 27.85 ± 4.3; p < 0.01).
Factor analysis of the new questionnaire identified three factors (appropriateness and usefulness, sexual implications and passive role) accounting for 62.8% of the variance. Criterion validity was assessed by correlation with the EFS (Pearson’s r coefficient = 0.61). Reliability was expressed in terms of Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, which equals 0.86.
These quantitative results are consistent with previous qualitative research on the process of embodiment both in medicine and osteopathy. The new questionnaire proved to be valid and reliable. The objective assessment of the acceptability of PPE is a way to determine differences in students’ attitudes towards contact with the body and can be used for counselling students regarding career choice. This study can also highlight differences between students from different professions and serve as a basis for reflection for improved mutual interprofessional understanding and future interprofessional education.
Peer physical examination; Embodiment; Medical student; Osteopathic student; Cross sectional survey
Board scores are an important aspect of an emergency medicine (EM) residency application. Residency directors use these standardized tests to objectively evaluate an applicant’s potential and help decide whether to interview a candidate. While allopathic (MD) students take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), osteopathic (DO) students take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). It is difficult to compare these scores. Previous literature proposed an equation to predict USMLE based on COMLEX. Recent analyses suggested this may no longer be accurate. DO students applying to allopathic programs frequently ask whether they should take USMLE to overcome this potential disadvantage. The objective of the study is to compare the likelihood to match of DO applicants who reported USMLE to those who did not, and to clarify how important program directors consider it is whether or not an osteopathic applicant reported a USMLE score.
We conducted a review of Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) data for 2010–2011 in conjunction with a survey of EM residency programs. We reviewed the number of allopathic and osteopathic applicants, the number of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score, and the percentage of successful match. We compared the percentage of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score who matched compared to those who did not report USMLE. We also surveyed allopathic EM residency programs to understand how important it is that osteopathic (DO) students take USMLE.
There were 1,482 MD students ranked EM programs; 1,277 (86%, 95% CI 84.3–87.9) matched. There were 350 DO students ranked EM programs; 181 (52%, 95% CI 46.4–57.0) matched (difference=34%, 95% CI 29.8–39.0, p<0.0001). There were 208 DO students reported USMLE; 126 (61%, 95% CI 53.6–67.2) matched. 142 did not report USMLE; 55 (39%, 95% CI 30.7–47.3) matched (difference=22%, 95% CI 11.2–32.5, p<0.0001). Survey results: 39% of program directors reported that it is extremely important that osteopathic students take USMLE, 38% stated it is somewhat important, and 22% responded not at all important.
DO students who reported USMLE were more likely to match. DO students applying to allopathic EM programs should consider taking USMLE to improve their chances of a successful match.
Previous studies suggest a possible association between using chiropractic care and lower influenza vaccination rates. We examined adult influenza vaccination rates for chiropractic patients to determine if they are different than those for users of other complementary and alternative medicine(CAM).
We used the 2007 National Health Interview Survey to examine influenza vaccination rates among adult respondents who were considered high priority for the influenza vaccine(n=12,164). We separated respondents into clinically meaningful categories according to age and whether or not they had recently used chiropractic care, some other type of CAM, or neither. We used adjusted logistic regression to determine whether user status predicted influenza vaccination.
Only 33% of younger and 64% of older high priority Chiropractic Users were vaccinated in 2007; these rates approximated those of Non-CAM Users. However, younger Non-Chiropractic CAM Users were more likely than Non-CAM Users to have been vaccinated (p-value=0.05). In adjusted logistic regressions, we found statistically insignificant differences when comparing Chiropractic Users to Non-CAM Users for younger adults (OR=0.93(95% CI:0.76–1.13), or for older adults OR=0.90(95% CI:0.64–1.20).
Chiropractic Users appear no less likely to be vaccinated for influenza; whereas, younger Non-chiropractic CAM Users are more likely than Non-CAM Users to be vaccinated.
Evidence-based clinical practice (EBCP) is an accepted practice for informed clinical decision making in mainstream health care professions. EBCP augments clinical experience and can have far reaching effects in education, policy, reimbursement and clinical management. The proliferation of published research can be overwhelming—finding a mechanism to identify literature that is essential for practitioners and students is desirable. The purpose of this study was to survey leaders in the chiropractic profession on their opinions of essential literature for doctors of chiropractic, faculty, and students to read or reference.
Deployment of an IRB exempted survey occurred with 68 academic and research leaders using SurveyMonkey®. Individuals were solicited via e-mail in August of 2011; the study closed in October of 2011.
Collected data were checked for citation accuracy and compiled to determine multiple responses. A secondary analysis assessed the scholarly impact and Internet accessibility of the recommended literature.
Forty-three (43) individuals consented to participate; seventeen (17) contributed at least one article of importance. A total of 41 unique articles were reported. Of the six articles contributed more than once, one article was reported 6 times, and 5 were reported twice.
A manageable list of relevant literature was created. Shortcomings of methods were identified, and improvements for continued implementation are suggested. A wide variety of articles were reported as “essential” knowledge; annual or bi-annual surveys would be helpful for the profession.
Evidence-based practice; Evidence-based health care; Chiropractic; Web-based survey; Publications; Professional education
The purpose of this study was to track the graduates of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC) radiology residency program, review their scholarly productivity, and report those involved in teaching and leadership positions.
Former LACC residents’ career information was identified through publicly available electronic documents including Web sites and social media. PubMed and the Index to Chiropractic Literature databases were searched for chiropractic graduate job surveys, and proportional comparisons were made between the career paths of LACC radiology residency graduates and those of non–residency-trained chiropractors.
Of 47 former LACC residents, 28 (60%) have or previously had careers in tertiary (chiropractic) education; and 12 (26%) have attained a department chair position or higher at tertiary teaching institutions. Twenty-two (47%) have or previously had private radiology practices, whereas 11 (23%) have or previously had clinical chiropractic practices. Often, residency graduates hold or have held 2 of these positions at once; and one, all 3. Chapters or books were authored by 13 (28%).
Radiology residency LACC graduates are professionally active, particularly in education, and demonstrate scholarly productivity.
Chiropractic; Radiology; Diagnostic imaging; Residency; Education
The use of chiropractic services is widespread, however, little is known about the characteristics of people who seek chiropractic care in Australia. This study compared the characteristics of users and non-users of chiropractic services from a cohort of patients sourced from general medical practice in Victoria, Australia.
This is a secondary analysis of baseline screening data from a prospective adult cohort study beginning in 2005. Thirty randomly selected Australian general medical practices mailed out surveys to 17,780 of their patients. Differences were examined between chiropractic users and others, and between chiropractic users who reported a back problem to those who did not.
Of 7,519 respondents, 15% indicated they had visited a chiropractor in the last 12 months. Chiropractic users were more likely to have their GP located in a rural location and to be born in Australia; they were less likely to be in the older age group (55–76), to be unemployed or to have a pension/benefit as their main source of income. Chiropractic users were more likely to: have a back problem; use complementary or alternative medication; visit another type of complementary health practitioner or a physiotherapist. They were less likely to take medication for certain health problems (e.g. for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or asthma). No important differences were seen between chiropractic users and non-users for other health problems. People who visited a chiropractor and reported a back problem were more likely to: be a current smoker; have a number of other chronic conditions, including arthritis, hypertension, chronic sinusitis, asthma, dermatitis, depression and anxiety; report taking medications, including antidepressants, analgesics (painkillers and arthritis medication) and complementary or alternative medications.
This large cross-sectional study of general medical practice attendees suggests that chiropractors are the most commonly consulted complementary health profession. Chiropractors should ensure they are aware of their patients’ health conditions other than musculoskeletal problems and should ensure they are appropriately managed.
Two recent studies that examined National Health Interview Survey data reported divergent findings regarding the propensity of adult chiropractic users to receive seasonal influenza immunization. Although one study found a statistically significant negative association between chiropractic use and influenza vaccination, another found that chiropractic users were significantly more likely to be vaccinated. The purpose of this study is to extend previous works by delving more deeply into recent data to identify adult chiropractic users at high risk and high priority for vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal disease.
We used data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey in an attempt to replicate previous methodologies and further examine vaccination among adult chiropractic users (age ≥18 years) who, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, should receive influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccination. We used complex survey design methods to make national estimates and used logistic regression to determine if having used chiropractic care predicted vaccination.
We found major methodological differences between the prior studies. In our analyses, we found that chiropractic users were significantly less likely than nonusers to have received the pneumococcal vaccine, and we found no significant difference between chiropractic users and nonusers relative to having received the seasonal flu vaccine.
Methodological differences in previous studies that investigated the association between chiropractic care and adult vaccination likely explain divergent findings reported in the literature. Future studies should consider these differences.
Chiropractic; Vaccination; Health Surveys; Preventive Health Services
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and ultrasound physical therapy (UPT) are commonly used for chronic low back pain. Although there is evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis that OMT generally reduces low back pain, there are no large clinical trials that specifically assess OMT efficacy in chronic low back pain. Similarly, there is a lack of evidence involving UPT for chronic low back pain.
The OSTEOPAThic Health outcomes In Chronic low back pain (OSTEOPATHIC) Trial is a Phase III randomized controlled trial that seeks to study 488 subjects between August 2006 and June 2010. It uses a 2 × 2 factorial design to independently assess the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain. The primary outcome is a visual analogue scale score for pain. Secondary outcomes include back-specific functioning, generic health, work disability, and satisfaction with back care.
This randomized controlled trial will potentially be the largest involving OMT. It will provide long awaited data on the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain.
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.
There have been no published national studies on the use in Australia of the manipulative therapies, acupuncture, chiropractic or osteopathy, or on matters including the purposes for which these therapies are used, treatment outcomes and the socio-demographic characteristics of users.
This study on the three manipulative therapies was a component of a broader investigation on the use of complementary and alternative therapies. For this we conducted a cross-sectional, population survey on a representative sample of 1,067 adults from the six states and two territories of Australia in 2005 by computer-assisted telephone interviews. The sample was recruited by random digit dialling.
Over a 12-month period, approximately one in four adult Australians used either acupuncture (9.2%), chiropractic (16.1%) or osteopathy (4.6%) at least once. It is estimated that, adult Australians made 32.3 million visits to acupuncturists, chiropractors and osteopaths, incurring personal expenditure estimated to be A$1.58 billion in total. The most common conditions treated were back pain and related problems and over 90% of the users of each therapy considered their treatment to be very or somewhat helpful. Adverse events are reported. Nearly one fifth of users were referred to manipulative therapy practitioners by medical practitioners.
There is substantial use of manipulative therapies by adult Australians, especially for back-related problems. Treatments incur considerable personal expenditure. In general, patient experience is positive. Referral by medical practitioners is a major determinant of use of these manipulative therapies.
The segments of society that suffer the greatest musculoskeletal disability tend to be the lower income groups1,2,3 and yet little has been written about their use of chiropractic care. This one year retrospective study was intended to gain insight into chiropractic service utilization within this low-income bracket by examining the demographics of users of chiropractic care at Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) Health Clinic. From July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998 six hours of volunteer chiropractic services per week were provided at CUPS and utilization data was abstracted from these files. The results of the study include the fact that 988 chiropractic treatments were rendered to 183 individuals (67% men, 33% women) exclusively for musculoskeletal concerns. The average number of visits per individual was 5.4 (sd = 7.6). Broken down by gender women made 7.1 (sd = 9.3) visits, and men 4.6 (sd = 6.6) visits. Most did not fill in the “occupation section” and only a third of those who responded were in labour positions. The number of treatments rendered without any remuneration from Alberta Health Care (ABHC) totalled to 420-47 treatments were to out of province claimants, 36 to those with no health care coverage whatsoever and the rest, 337 to those who claimed to have an ABHC number.
Chiropractic; manual manipulation; low income population (poverty); demographics; utilization