ACORN Chiropractors – Members

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING TIME AND SUPPORT 

To all the chiropractors who have consented to participate in ACORN a big thank you from the ACORN Project team and Steering Committee – your support and time has so far helped establish the largest practice-based research network for any profession anywhere in the world with regards to coverage.

As many of you will know ACORN has now grown substantially since completing initial data collection and we are pleased to inform you that a number of sub-studies are already completed or are in progress. Amongst these sub-studies are research examining chiropractor’s treatment of migraines and headaches, the approach of chiropractor’s to managing dizziness amongst elderly patients, the use of nutritional advice and medicines within chiropractic amongst many more. It has been exciting to see many researchers and practitioners collaborating on sub-studies and we have representation from across most of Australian States and Territories as well as international collaborators engaged in collecting and analysing ACORN sub-study data. We shall publish links to the outcomes and papers of these research projects as they become available.

A NEED TO MAINTAIN SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT FROM ACROSS THE PRACTITIONER BASE

For those of you who may have been invited and participated in recent and ongoing ACORN sub-studies, many thanks again for your involvement and enthusiasm to be involved. To clarify: those of you who have yet to be called upon to contribute to a sub-study, this is purely due to the random sampling of sub-study recruitment. Rest assured your input, opinion and experience will be required further down the track and given the volume of sub-studies currently in train you may well be contacted sooner rather than later. Regardless of whether you have been approached recently or not, your ongoing support and engagement with ACORN remains our priority – as new sub-studies are approved and undertaken, it is essential that your participation on the database be continuing to ensure rigorous, well-powered sampling and analyses are also maintained. The willingness of each and everyone of you who have consented to continue to be on the ACORN database and to participate in follow-up sub-studies as they are conducted is vital to ensuring the quality of the research produced and its ability to reflect across the breadth of the profession.

REFLECTING THE INSIGHTS OF DAILY ROUTINE CARE  

Already the baseline practitioner information that you all provided via the original ACORN questionnaire has provided essential insights into the contemporary terrain and activities of Australian chiropractic. For the first, we are able to answer questions regarding the demographics of chiropractors, what they do and who they treat in practice.  The latest ACORN paper published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Impact Factor 1.897) provides an excellent snapshot of the workforce issues regarding Australian chiropractic. Please link here: https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-016-1143-8

This paper gives an overview of the practitioner, practice and clinical management features of a national sample of 2,005 Australian chiropractors. I believe some of the information may also be useful in addressing some of the claims sometimes made toward the profession. The key findings are as follows:

  • The strongest referral relationship they have is with GPs where 55.1% have a professional referral relationship (sending or receiving) and that chiropractors understand and value the importance of referral relationships with other professions.
  • The most common topic discussed on an ‘often’ basis was physical activity (84.9%), followed by diet/nutrition (50.5%) and occupational health and safety (40.9%).
  • The vast majority of chiropractors report being consulted by patients with musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain, which is in line with the chiropractic focus on spinal health.
  • Chiropractors treat people presenting with low back pain (axial) (94.7%), neck pain (axial) (93.6%), and headache disorders (87.2%) being the most common conditions treated on an ‘often’ basis.
  • In terms of subgroups of patients treated by chiropractors, 73.5% of chiropractors treat older people (≥65 years) on an ‘often’ basis, 53.2% treat children (4–18 years) on an ‘often’ basis, and 49.5% treat athletes or sports people on an ‘often’ basis.
  • The most common techniques/methods employed on an ‘often’ basis are: high velocity, low amplitude adjustment/manipulation/mobilisation (82.2%); extremity manipulation (58.8%); drop-piece techniques/Thomson (53.7%); and instrument adjusting (52.3%).
  • Only 0.9% of chiropractors in our study currently have a PhD. This level of PhD represents only a small increase compared to the 0.7% identified in 2010.
  • Chiropractors in our sample also report consulting an average of 87 patients per week, which equates to a chiropractor spending an average of around 20 min with each patient.