Chiropractic care in the United Kingdom has undergone a significant transformation in the recent past. This metamorphosis has been especially evident with the introduction of statutory regulation and the growing emphasis on evidence-based and multidisciplinary healthcare. However, the effects of these transformations on the professional outlook and the scope of chiropractic practice remain largely unknown.
This study was conducted to gain insights into UK chiropractors’ perspectives on chiropractic philosophies and beliefs, the efficacy of chiropractic intervention across various age groups, and its correlation with the National Health Service (NHS). It also sought to understand the potential differences in viewpoints among chiropractors from diverse UK chiropractic associations, including the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), the McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA), the Scottish Chiropractic Association (SCA), and the United Chiropractic Association (UCA).
The research employed a single-instance postal survey, which was dispatched to 490 chiropractors randomly selected from those registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) in the UK. A second sample of 45 chiropractors was randomly chosen from the same sampling pool to assess if the primary sample was representative of the entire population. Both groups were subject to a comprehensive analysis using SPSS v10, with group differences further investigated via Chi-square analysis and the Kruskal-Wallis H-test.
The response rate for both the primary and secondary samples was moderate, with no significant difference in demographic or professional aspects. The internal consistency of the survey ranged from weak to moderate. The majority of respondents agreed that chiropractic interventions are effective in treating musculoskeletal conditions, with unanimous agreement on their benefits for addressing mechanical dysfunctions of the spine.
Additionally, a majority of chiropractors perceived that non-musculoskeletal conditions in adults, such as asthma, gastrointestinal issues, and pre-menstrual syndrome, could benefit from chiropractic care. However, there was less consensus on the treatment of osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension, and infertility. More than half of the respondents believed that childhood musculoskeletal and muscular conditions, infantile colic, otitis media, and asthma could benefit from chiropractic intervention. Statistically significant differences emerged among chiropractors from different UK associations, particularly regarding the benefits of chiropractic treatment for non-musculoskeletal conditions.
The survey indicates that chiropractors may not perceive their role as limited to neuromusculoskeletal specialization. They reported treating visceral/organic conditions and expressed a belief that patients suffering from these ailments can potentially benefit from chiropractic care. Significant differences in opinion continue to persist among the professional associations, especially regarding the benefits of chiropractic treatment for viscero-somatic conditions and their philosophical relevance. However, these findings necessitate further exploration within a more representative sample to better reflect the current perspectives of the UK chiropractic community.
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