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Rubinstein, S., Pfeifle, EC., Tulder, vWM., Assendelft, JW. (2000) 'Chiropractic patients in the Netherlands: a descriptive study', J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2000 Oct;23(8):557-63.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2000 Oct;23(8):557-63.

Chiropractic patients in the Netherlands: a descriptive study

S Rubinstein, C E Pfeifle, M W v Tulder, W J Assendelft


Background: Despite the worldwide popularity of chiropractic, there is still relatively little known about the patients who visit chiropractors in the Netherlands and other European countries.Objective: To describe in-depth the patient population of new patients to chiropractors in the Netherlands.Design: Study population consisted of 10 consecutive new patients per participating chiropractor. A retrospective-type questionnaire was used.Setting: Private practice.Outcome measures: Mode of referral, area, and nature of the complaints; related to the chief complaint: previous treatments, examinations, type of referral, days lost at work, level of pain, and treatment expectations.Results: Of the 130 chiropractors registered with the Netherlands Chiropractors'Association, 94 chiropractors(78%) participated. Eight hundred thirty-three patients (89%) returned questionnaires. By far, the greatest reason that patients visit chiropractors in the Netherlands is for neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) complaints. At the time of examination, 86% of the patients had spinal-related complaints, of which 12% involved multiple areas of the spine. Non-NMS complaints are minimal (<2%). Seventy-seven percent of patients with NMS complaints have chronic complaints (>12 weeks). Three-quarters of these patients have undergone previous conservative therapy for their complaint, which includes physical and manual therapy, postural correction, and exercise therapy. Despite the chronic nature of their complaints, patients have high expectations that their treatment will be effective.Conclusions: Most patients who see chiropractors in the Netherlands have chronic NMS-related complaints. Chiropractors are not a part of the normal referral system in this country, with the result that the patients have rather long histories, including previous evaluations by medical specialists and other previous forms of (conservative) care.

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