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Chiropractic conservatism and the ability to determine contra-indications, non-indications, and indications to chiropractic care: a cross-sectional survey of chiropractic students

Goncalves, G., Demortier, M., Leboeuf-Yde, C. and Wedderkopp, N. (2019) Chiropractic conservatism and the ability to determine contra-indications, non-indications, and indications to chiropractic care: a cross-sectional survey of chiropractic students. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 27 (1).

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Abstract

Background
While there is a broad spectrum of practice within chiropractic two sub-types can be identified, those who focus on musculoskeletal problems and those who treat also non-musculoskeletal problems. The latter group may adhere to the old conservative ‘subluxation’ model. The main goal of this study is to determine if chiropractic students with such conservative opinions are likely to have a different approach to determine contra-indications, non-indications and indications to chiropractic treatment versus those without such opinions.

Method
An anonymous and voluntary survey on 3rd to 6th year French chiropractic students was conducted between November 2017 and January 2018. Level of chiropractic conservatism (10 items) and the ability to determine contra-indications (2 cases), non-indications (4 cases) and indications (3 cases) were evaluated through a questionnaire. Answers to these cases were dichotomized into ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ answers, as defined by previous research teams and the present team. The level of conservatism was classified into four groups, ‘group 4’ corresponding to the highest score. Descriptive data are provided, and bi- and multivariate analyses were performed through logistic regression to test the associations between the level of conservatism and the ability to determine the suitability of chiropractic treatment.

Results
In all, 359 of 536 (67%) students responded to the questionnaire. They generally recognized a number of contra-indications and indications to treatment. However, they found it more difficult to identify non-indications. The more conservative students were more likely to intend to treat their patients, even if this was irrelevant (non-indications). For example, those who were most conservative (group 4) were much more willing than those in group 1 to treat ‘chiropractically’ a 5-year-old child with no history of back pain or disease to prevent future back pain (OR = 14.7) and also to prevent non-musculoskeletal disease (OR = 22).

Conclusion
It is concerning that students who adhere to the subluxation model are prepared to ‘operationalize’ their conservative opinions in their future scope of practice; apparently willing to treat asymptomatic people with chiropractic adjustments. The determinants of this phenomenon need to be understood.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s).
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/43893
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