The Danish sports chiropractic landscape: an exploration of practice characteristics and salient developmental issues

Corrie Myburgh*, Julie Andersen, Nicklas Bakkely, Jakob Hermannsen, Marcus Zuschlag, Philip Damgaard, Eleanor Boyle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: As is the case around the globe, the Danish chiropractic community appears to be an active service provider for the athletic sub-population. However, a paucity of evidence elucidating the experiences, perceptions, and practices of individuals who identify as 'sports chiropractors' complicates strategic development efforts.

METHODS: A sequential mixed-methods study was conceptualized in which interview responses from seven purposefully selected stakeholders provided context and informed a national descriptive survey exploring practice characteristics and opinions regarding sports chiropractic among Danish chiropractors.

RESULTS: Thematic highlights included divided opinions on the criteria that define a sports chiropractor, the role of a chiropractor functioning beyond the clinic setting, and the need for a structured approach to developing sports chiropractic as a legitimate sub-specialty. The survey response rate was 34.9% (227 of 651), with 27% of responders identifying as a 'sports chiropractor'. Compared to non-sports chiropractors, sports chiropractors engaged in a significantly higher level of interprofessional practice (3.8 versus 2.7 partners), in particular medical doctors (p = 0.016) and personal trainers (p <  0.001). Whether participants identified as a sports chiropractor or not, there was consensus that a high-quality post-graduate qualification and continued education was important. Generally speaking, the framing of sports chiropractic into a protected title was not a priority.

CONCLUSION: The Danish sports chiropractor tends to be male, has a specialist education and engages other chiropractors, medical practitioners and professional trainers more often as practice partners than generalist chiropractors. The position of the sports chiropractor as a 'knowledgeable expert' was seen as more important than establishing a protected title. Experiential training appears to be an untapped resource for developing real-world competency and gaining greater professional exposure. Given the potential for development across Europe, more focus is required on a strategic plan for embedding chiropractic professionals in inter-professional athletic health and performance practice settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 29. Jun 2021


  • Athletic injuries
  • Chiropractic
  • Delivery of health care
  • Mixed methods
  • Multiple methods
  • Professional practice
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Young Adult
  • Sports Medicine
  • Denmark
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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