As complementary and alternative therapies are becoming increasingly popular, researchers have sought to identify whether such therapies are fully addressing patient needs. Despite a growing supply of studies indicating the benefits of CAM therapy like chiropractic care, less research has answered the question of whether patients are consistently satisfied with these treatments. A new study from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics shows that when it comes to chiropractic care, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”
The survey included a sample of 486 patients from 96 chiropractic clinics in Australia who responded to questionnaires about their use and perception of chiropractic care. The results indicated that:
- 96% of chiropractic patients said chiropractic was beneficial for their overall health and well being.
- 91% of patients said chiropractors helped them take more responsibility for their personal health.
- 97% of patients said they would seek chiropractic care again.
The JMPT study also painted a prototypical picture of the chiropractic patient; who tends to be female, between the ages of 40-65 years, and earning an annual income of $40-90,000 per year. The majority of patients (68%) said they had visited a chiropractor for musculoskeletal problems. Only 21% visited a chiropractor for general health maintenance, less than half the percentage of patients in the US who reported seeing a chiropractor for overall wellness (44.6%) according to an earlier study. 2
Australian vs. American Use of Chiropractic Care
The prevalence of chiropractic care in Australia has grown in recent years, with a 78% increase in the number of registered chiropractors between 2006 and 2012. Australians may be more likely to pursue complementary and alternative care medicine compared to Americans. Overall, 52- 68% of Australians report visiting some kind of CAM therapist each year, compared to just 38% of Americans who reported using some type of CAM therapy in a 2007 study from the CDC.3-5
This trend towards greater utilization of CAM therapies by Australians is reflected in the number of patients seeing chiropractors; with 15% of Australians under chiropractic care compared to just 8.5% of Americans. 5-6 However, a 2012 CDC study also shows that utilization rates of chiropractic services is higher in certain regions in the US, reaching 16.4% in the West North Central region.
- Brown BT, et al. Consumer characteristics and perceptions of chiropractic and chiropractic services in Australia: results from a cross-sectional survey. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014. doi 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.01.001.
- Hawk C, Ndetan H, Evans MW. Potential role of complementary and alternative health care providers in chronic disease prevention and health promotion: an analysis of National Health Interview Survey data. Preventive Medicine 2012;54:18–22
- MacLennan AH, Myers SP, Taylor AW. The continuing use of complementary and alternative medicine in South Australia: costs and beliefs in 2004. Medical Journal of Australia 2006;184:27–31
- Xue CC, Zhang AL, Lin V, Da Costa C, Story DF. Complementary and alternative medicine use in Australia: a national population-based survey. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2007;13:643–650
- 2007 Statistics on CAM Use in the U.S. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007.
- Regional Variation in Use of Complementary Health Approaches by US Adults. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db146.pdf.
96% of Patients Say Chiropractic Boosts Overall Wellness