BACKGROUND: Chiropractic technique systems ('prescriptive' techniques) might be interpreted as helpful guidelines. However, 'prescriptive' techniques, such as Functional Neurology (FN), Sacro-Occipital Technique, and Applied Kinesiology are more concerned with the 'technical' diagnosis than the condition and its symptoms and, thus, seem to provide easy solutions.
DESIGN AND OBJECTIVES: In a voluntary anonymous questionnaire survey carried out late 2017, we explored interest in 'prescriptive' techniques, particularly FN, among French chiropractic students in grades 3-6, and the possible link with chiropractic conservatism. We investigated their: i) attitudes to the use of 'prescriptive' techniques, ii) awareness of FN, and iii) attitudes to FN. Further, if their attitudes to some conservative chiropractic concepts influenced their clinical approach on iv) some 'prescriptive' chiropractic techniques and v) attitudes to FN.
METHOD: Data reported in tables illustrated the prevalence of the use of 'prescriptive' techniques, awareness of FN, and positive attitude to FN (i.e. interest in and acceptance of). Students were given a FN score based on five questions on their interest in and acceptance of FN (0 to 5), dichotomized into two groups: 'not positive attitude' (0 to 1) and 'positive attitude' (2 to 5). Chiropractic conservatism was graded from 1 to 4. Associations were tested between conservatism groups and i) interest in 'prescriptive' techniques and ii) FN attitudes groups.
RESULTS: The response rate was 67% (N = 359), of which 90% were positive toward 'prescriptive' techniques. Only 10% had never heard about FN and in the 6th year all had heard about it. Only a minority, unrelated to the year of study, approved of the two examples given of FN concepts. Nevertheless, a majority were positive towards FN, more so in the higher grades. Students with the most conservative beliefs were 17 times more likely to want to use 'prescriptive' techniques and 11 times more likely to have a higher FN score.
CONCLUSION: Although not taught in the curriculum, these students were attracted to 'prescriptive' techniques including FN, particularly in the higher grades. Curiously, despite this interest they do not generally agree with some key concepts within FN.