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Chiropractic Journal of Australia : CJA September 2013
90 Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 43 Number 3 September 2013 on gathering more data on patient satisfaction with medical management of musculoskeletal disorders. Medicine remains the frst choice for health consumers. While medicine in this study was not perceived as the best option for easing symptoms, it seems to be attractive to consumers for other reasons. Just because a therapy has the ability to ease symptoms does not mean that it is the best choice of health care. For instance, some therapies relieve symptoms but if their effects are short term only, and do not contribute to a cure; they may not be viewed as a good health care option. Conversely, if the side-effects associated with easing symptoms via a certain modality are signifcant, this too may infuence consumer perceptions. This is supported by the current study as it shows that majority of the survey participants believe that the ability to ease symptoms did not equate to a therapy being the best health choice. Furthermore, medical care is currently a relatively low or cost-free option in Australia which may infuence the decision making process of healthcare consumers. Some consumers identifed with medicine being ‘scientifc’ thus making it an attractive choice over other therapies. The results of this survey indicate that the lifetime prevalence of the usage of chiropractic in Australia is 39.9%. This fnding concurs with a previous study by Wilson et al 17 published in 2007, suggesting a lifetime prevalence of 43%. Xue et al suggest that the annual prevalence fgure is around 16%.3 Other surveys 2,3,5 have established chiropractic as one of the most popular and most frequently consulted CAM professions in Australia, and this study seems to further corroborate this notion. The results of this study are in alignment with those of Xue et al who found no signifcant difference in the use of chiropractic with relation to gender and age.3 Xue et al also found that the individuals from households with an income higher than AUD $20,000 are more likely to utilise chiropractic services.3 The current survey did not distinguish income brackets below AUD $40,000 (the lowest being "less than AUD $40,000"), subsequently the subtleties that may exist between consumers of chiropractic with low to very- low incomes were not captured in this study. No differences were found between income groups (see Table 1) with regards to previous visits to a chiropractor. One could infer from this data that only the most economically disadvantaged are less likely to use chiropractic. This is to be expected as the individuals belonging to this group are the least capable of paying for health related expenses not covered by the Medicare, or paying for membership in private insurance schemes, some of which cover the chiropractic profession. SURVEY OF GENERAL PUBLIC BROWN et al Table 2: Respondent's Attitude Towards Healthcare, n (%) Health Care Strongly Agree Agree Don't Know Disagree Strongly Disagree N/A Number of Responses With respect to my health care problems, I am only really interested in alleviating the symptoms. 57 (7.6) 233 (31.1) 91 (12.2) 261 (34.9) 84 (11.2) 22 (2.9) 748 I believe treatment should be aimed at improving my general health and well-being more so than focusing on symptoms. 170 (22.8) 380 (50.9) 108 (14.5) 61 (8.2) 13 (1.7) 15 (2.0) 747 MY personal philosophy infuences me in deciding who I see for my health care. 131 (17.6) 389 (52.3) 111 (14.9) 74 (9.9) 13 (1.7) 26 (3.5) 744 Family tradition has infuenced me in deciding who I see for my health care. 34 (4.6) 183 (24.6) 98 (13.2) 276 (37) 115 (15.4) 39 (5.2) 745
CJA June 2013
CJA December 2013