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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : CJA September 2013
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 43 Number 3 September 2013 89 chiropractic use. However, the age groups variable indicated that, after adjustment for gender and income, the two oldest age categories (45-64 years and >64 years) had signifcantly higher odds (2.7 [95% CI=1.6 to 4.6] and 2.4 [95%CI=1.3 to 4.5] respectively) of previous chiropractic use compared to the youngest age category. Respondents were questioned about their satisfaction with the chiropractic services that they had received in the past. The great majority of this subset of the cohort had a positive reaction to the care they received (Figure 4). At 75.9%, over three quarters of the respondents who had chiropractic care were either satisfed or very satisfed with these services. Those who did not use chiropractic offered different reasons for their decision not to consult a chiropractor. The most common reason was that there was no need to consult a chiropractor or that the symptoms and pain were not of suffcient intensity to warrant chiropractic intervention. Other common reasons were: cost of treatment, not knowing much about chiropractic, never having been referred to a chiropractor, already being attended to by another health professional (most often physiotherapist), and concern about the safety and effcacy of chiropractic treatment. Attitudes to Health Care Respondents were asked about their main goals in health care, specifcally if they were only interested in alleviating symptoms (Table 2). Overall, participants reported a mild disagreement with the statement that they were only interested in alleviating symptoms. When presented with the alternate statement “I believe treatment should be aimed at improving my general health and well-being more so than focusing on symptoms" respondents as a whole showed high levels of agreement. Respondents were more likely to agree than to disagree with the statement "My personal philosophy infuences me in deciding who I see for my health care”. Responses were consistent across age and gender categories in their agreement or disagreement with all three of the above statements. Participants were more likely to disagree with the statement that family tradition infuenced their selection of healthcare practitioner. While there were no gender differences in responses to this question, participants older than 45 were more likely to disagree. DISCUSSION Chiropractic is defined by the World Federation of Chiropractic as "a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation." 13 Indeed, research shows that the majority of the patients who use spinal manipulative therapy, do so because of musculoskeletal disorders.14-16 This is also corroborated by results from the other two Work Force Study surveys of which highlight a focus by chiropractic consumers on musculoskeletal disorders and general health and well-being.12 This survey shows that in Australia there is a high prevalence of pain and discomfort in body regions which are of interest to chiropractors: lower back, neck, shoulder as well as headache. Some differences were detected with respect to age, gender and the type of pain - the clinical implication of this fnding should be further investigated. The results of this survey also suggest that when patients are looking to alleviate pain and discomfort they seek help primarily from the medical practitioners. One may hypothesise that one of the reasons for this is that patients visit general practitioners frst but then might be referred to other health practitioners. Chiropractic was viewed by respondents as the second choice in this respect. Furthermore, chiropractic seems to have an excellent reputation for alleviating pain and discomfort, second only to physiotherapy. Future research should focus SURVEY OF GENERAL PUBLIC BROWN et al Figure 3: Patient’s opinion of which therapy was most benefcial in alleviating discomfort and pain. Figure 4: Satisfaction with Chiropractic Care
CJA June 2013
CJA December 2013