Characterization of Health Status and Modifiable Risk Behavior Among United States Adults Using Chiropractic Care as Compared With General Medical Care

Academic Article


  • Objective: The causes of death in the United States have moved from infectious to chronic diseases with modifiable behavioral risk factors. Simultaneously, there has been a paradigm shift in health care provisions with increased emphases on prevention and health promotion. Use of professional complementary and alternative medicine, such as chiropractic care, has increased. The purpose of this study was to characterize typical conditions, modifiable risk behaviors, and perceived changes in overall general health of patients seeing chiropractors as compared with general medical doctors in the United States. Methods: Secondary analyses of the National Health Interview Survey 2005 adult sample (n = 31 248) were performed. Multiple logistic regression models were applied to assess associations of health conditions/risk behaviors of patients with the doctors (chiropractors vs medical doctors) they saw within the past 12 months. Results: Respondents who saw/talked to chiropractors were 9.3%. Among these, 21.4% did not see a medical doctor. Comparing chiropractor-only with medical doctor-only patients, we found no significant difference in smoking/alcohol consumption status, but chiropractor-only patients were more likely to be physically active (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-1.8) and less likely to be obese (OR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9). Respondents reporting acute neck (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 2.2-3.2) and low back pain (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 2.0-2.8) were more likely to have seen a chiropractor. Conclusions: Based on these analyses, Americans seem to be using chiropractic care for acute neck and low back pain more so than for other health conditions. However, there is no marked difference in their overall health promotion habits and changes in overall general health based on health care provider types. © 2009.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ndetan HT; Bae S; Evans MW; Rupert RL; Singh KP
  • Start Page

  • 414
  • End Page

  • 422
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 6