Chiropractic Most Popular CAM Therapy in Australia

More and more people are catching onto to the benefits of chiropractic care. A new study found that chiropractors are the most commonly consulted complementary health physicians in Australia.

Out of 7,519 respondents, 15% of patients reported they had visited a chiropractor in the previous 12 months. Chiropractors were the fifth most common healthcare professional seen by respondents, following specialist doctors (47%), nurses (19%), hospital doctors (21%), and physiotherapists (21%).

Other research has suggested higher rates of chiropractic use among elderly and pregnant patients, with 37% and 16% reporting visiting a chiropractor, respectively. The percentage of people who had visited in a chiropractor in Australia was higher than in the US. A large study from the US National Health Survey showed that 9% of respondents had seen a chiropractor in the previous 12 months.

This latest study also revealed important characteristics about the chiropractic patients. People who had seen a chiropractor were:

  • More likely to have seen at least one other complementary health provider
  • No more or less likely to have seen a traditional doctor
  • More economically advantaged (having had completed high-school education and were currently employed)
  • 2.9 times more likely have back pain

Patients with back pain were:

  • More likely to have a number of chronic conditions like arthritis, hypertension, chronic sinusitis, asthma, and dermatitis
  • More likely to be a current smoker
  • More likely to have depression, anxiety, and be taking antidepressants
  • Not more or less likely to have a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lipid disorder, or emphysema

"These findings have important implications for chiropractors," the authors wrote. "If a consumer seeks their care for a back problem then that consumer is more likely to have a number of other chronic health conditions... Chiropractors should be aware of this and ensure that these people are assessed and appropriately managed for these other health conditions."

This is precisely why many chiropractors are interested in holistic health and often assist patients in more than just pain relief through a number of natural therapies and coordination with other health providers.


French SD, et al. Who use Australian chiropractic services? Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013; 21 (31): doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-31.