Patient and provider characteristics associated with therapeutic intervention selection in a chiropractic clinical encounter: a cross-sectional analysis of the COAST and O-COAST study data

Hazel J. Jenkins*, Aron Downie, Jessica J. Wong, James J. Young, Eric J. Roseen, Casper Glissmann Nim, David McNaughton, Cecilie K. Øveras, Jan Hartvigsen, Silvano Mior, Simon D. French


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Background: Chiropractors use a variety of therapeutic interventions in clinical practice. How the selection of interventions differs across musculoskeletal regions or with different patient and provider characteristics is currently unclear. This study aimed to describe how frequently different interventions are used for patients presenting for chiropractic care, and patient and provider characteristics associated with intervention selection. Methods: Data were obtained from the Chiropractic Observation and Analysis STudy (COAST) and Ontario (O-COAST) studies: practice-based, cross-sectional studies in Victoria, Australia (2010–2012) and Ontario, Canada (2014–2015). Chiropractors recorded data on patient diagnosis and intervention selection from up to 100 consecutive patient visits. The frequency of interventions selected overall and for each diagnostic category (e.g., different musculoskeletal regions) were descriptively analysed. Univariable multi-level logistic regression (provider and patient as grouping factors), stratified by diagnostic category, was used to assess the association between patient/provider variables and intervention selection. Results: Ninety-four chiropractors, representative of chiropractors in Victoria and Ontario for age, sex, and years in practice, participated. Data were collected on 7,966 patient visits (6419 unique patients), including 10,731 individual diagnoses (mean age: 43.7 (SD: 20.7), 57.8% female). Differences in patient characteristics and intervention selection were observed between chiropractors practicing in Australia and Canada. Overall, manipulation was the most common intervention, selected in 63% (95%CI:62–63) of encounters. However, for musculoskeletal conditions presenting in the extremities only, soft tissue therapies were more commonly used (65%, 95%CI:62–68). Manipulation was less likely to be performed if the patient was female (OR:0.74, 95%CI:0.65–0.84), older (OR:0.79, 95%CI:0.77–0.82), presenting for an initial visit (OR:0.73, 95%CI:0.56–0.95) or new complaint (OR:0.82, 95%CI:0.71–0.95), had one or more comorbidities (OR:0.63, 95%CI:0.54–0.72), or was underweight (OR:0.47, 95%CI:0.35–0.63), or obese (OR:0.69, 95%CI:0.58–0.81). Chiropractors with more than five years clinical experience were less likely to provide advice/education (OR:0.37, 95%CI:0.16–0.87) and exercises (OR:0.17, 95%CI:0.06–0.44). Conclusion: In more than 10,000 diagnostic encounters, manipulation was the most common therapeutic intervention for spine-related problems, whereas soft tissue therapies were more common for extremity problems. Different patient and provider characteristics were associated with intervention selection. These data may be used to support further research on appropriate selection of interventions for common musculoskeletal complaints.

TidsskriftChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 21. sep. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This COAST study was funded by the Chiropractors Registration Board of Victoria and the Chiropractors Association of Australia. The funding bodies provided general advice about the design of the project but had no role in the conduct of the study or in the decisions about publication of the results. This O-COAST study was funded by the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) and Queen’s University. The OCA provided general advice about the design of the project, but was not involved in the collection of data, data analysis, interpretation of data or drafting of the manuscript. The funder Queen’s University did not have any involvement in the project. No additional funding was obtained for this study.

Funding Information:
SDF is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. The editorial management system automatically blinded him from the submitted manuscript, and he had no part in the editorial or peer-review process of this manuscript. JJY is supported by Arthritis Society Canada and the Danish Foundation for Chiropractic Research and Post-graduate Education, both outside the submitted work. JJW is funded by a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; and reports grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (paid to university) outside the submitted work. The other authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia, European Academy of Chiropractic, The Royal College of Chiropractors, Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and Clinical Biomechanics and BioMed Central Ltd.


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