30-64 is the common patient age range, outside of which more patients need to discover chiropractic
One of the beauties of chiropractic care is that it is ageless. Care can be effective throughout the entire lifespan of patients once they discover chiropractic — for a variety of reasons from chronic and acute pain to general wellness, health and prevention.
According to the 2020 National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ (NBCE) Practice Analysis of Chiropractic, 65% of chiropractic practices focus on wellness and maintenance of health, and 33% focus on nutritional guidance.¹ Across the board, patient demographics are most commonly females between the ages of 30-64 years old.1
However, this does not mean women are the only individuals seeking chiropractic care. In the U.S., women make approximately 80% of the health care decisions for their families and can serve as a gateway to additional patients who may seek to discover chiropractic care, such as their children.2
It starts with pediatric chiropractic
Chiropractic pediatric care is widely utilized and sought after by parents and caregivers for a variety of conditions such as otitis media, colic, breast-feeding challenges and musculoskeletal complaints. In addition to supplements, some parents and care-givers seek manual therapy for their children, which can include soft tissue mobilization and manipulation.
According to the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, chiropractic is the third most-commonly-used complementary and integrative practice utilized in the United States behind yoga and meditation, but there are some key factors that influence who seeks this care.3 For example, the survey found that males and females used chiropractic care equally, and that older children between the ages of 12-17 years were more likely to have used meditation and chiropractic than younger children.3
In addition, the survey determined that non-Hispanic white children were more likely to use yoga and chiropractic care than non-Hispanic black children or Hispanic children.3 Furthermore, the socio-demographics of pediatric and adolescent patients do influence whether they seek care from chiropractors, as 11- to 17-year-olds, Midwest residents, higher-income families, white persons, and those who had utilized other complementary and alternative modalities demonstrated higher odds of utilizing chiropractic care.⁴ As practitioners it is important we become proactive in educating caregivers about the need for care.
As adolescents are a much more likely pediatric population to seek chiropractic care, practitioners should be cognizant of the recent increases in reported pain from this population. Depending upon when practitioners graduated from chiropractic programs, it was often stated that children do not experience chronic pain, and if they did, there was significant reason for concern. In today’s society, however, adolescent musculoskeletal pain is much more common. In addition, the rate of adolescent pain is higher in females than in their male counterparts, and neck and back pain account for higher levels of disability in this population.⁵ Chiropractic clinicians are uniquely poised to help these patients through manual therapy.
Caring for the female patient
As mentioned, women are more likely to seek chiropractic care and to be gatekeepers for patients and our practices.
It has been identified, however, that women’s pain is often overlooked in comparison to that of their male counterparts.6 As providers it is important that we take the time to listen to our patients’ presentations and not form judgements based on sex, race, gender or religion. Female patients seek the care and treatment of chiropractors for a variety of reasons and are also more likely to use other alternative modalities, such as yoga and meditation, than their male counterparts.
Females have a much greater emphasis throughout their lifespan on feeling well and thriving. As chiropractic practitioners, our correlating integrative treatments and modalities that can assist the female patient in thriving to live her best life is important more now than ever.
Discover chiropractic: the rapidly-growing senior population
By 2030, which is only a few short years away, one in five adults in the U.S. will be 65 years of age or older.8 As our bodies age, mobility may become limited, joints may ache more often than they once did, and balance may begin to decline. As chiropractic practitioners, we must be conscious of the growing needs of this population as it relates to manual therapies and rehabilitation, and be aware that in many cases, polypharmacy does exist.9
With a third of the U.S. population reporting chronic pain, many of whom are women, we have a responsibility as natural health care providers to consider how we can help patients discover chiropractic regardless of age or gender, as this population with chronic pain is sure to increase.7 As COVID-19 has impacted the world, patients of all ages and genders are presenting with a variety of conditions, many of which are related to a decrease in movement, postural changes from workspaces that are not ergonomically correct, and an increased use of technology and stress.
Now, more than ever, patients need to discover chiropractic care — which is ageless, knows no boundaries, and can be used effectively across the lifespan — to maintain health and wellness.
Learn more about the ACA Council on Women’s Health at acatoday.org.
- National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://mynbce.org/practice-analysis-of-chiropractic-2020/
- Matoff-Stepp, S., Applebaum, B., Pooler, J., & Kavanagh, E. (2014). Women as Health Care Decision-Makers: Implications for Health Care Coverage in the United States. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 25(4), 1507–1513. https://doi.org/10.1353/hpu.2014.0154
- Black LI, Barnes PM, Clarke TC, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors among U.S. children aged 4–17 years. NCHS Data Brief, no 324. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
- Peng, T., Chen, B., & Gabriel, K. P. (2018). Utilization of Chiropractic Care in US Children and Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 41(9), 725–733. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2018.07.003
- Kamper, S. J., Henschke, N., Hestbaek, L., Dunn, K. M., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Musculoskeletal pain in children and adolescents. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 20(3), 275–284. https://doi.org/10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0149
- Hoffman DE, Tarzian AJ. The girl who cried pain: a bias against women in the treatment of pain. J Law, Med, Ethics. 2001;29(1):13-27.
- Dahlhamer, J., Lucas, J., Zelaya, C., Nahin, R., Mackey, S., Debar, L., . . . Helmick, C. (2018). Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(36), 1001-1006. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6736a2
- S. Census Bureau. An older and more diverse population by mid-century: Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau; 2008. Available from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/ archives/population/cb08-123.html.
- Hawk, C., Schneider, M., Dougherty, P., Gleberzon, B. J., & Killinger, L. Z. (2010). Best Practices Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Older Adults: Results of a Consensus Process. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 33(6), 464-473. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.06.010
ACA Key Messages & Facts for DCs & Patients
• A poll conducted by the American Chiropractic Association found that more than 90% of respondents said their patients or people they knew were experiencing more musculoskeletal issues since having to shelter in place at the beginning of the pandemic.1
• Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a trend toward inactivity caused in part by sedentary occupations, motorized transportation and increased use of technology.2
• According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 4 in 10 Americans are obese.3
• According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above.4
• Physical activity can improve symptoms, decrease disability and improve function and well-being in a range of chronic musculoskeletal conditions.5
• Physical activity also reduces risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes beyond that produced by weight reduction alone.6
• The coronavirus pandemic may limit where we can go, but it’s important to remain mindful of our health and try to get enough physical activity daily.
• Even before the pandemic, more than half of all U.S. adults failed to meet the surgeon general’s physical activity recommendations.8
• The number of Americans suffering from anxiety and depression has more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic.9
• Deaths from falls among seniors age 75 and over have increased three-fold in recent years and total about 25,000 annually.14
• An active lifestyle, leading to a higher level of physical fitness, is related to better spinal control in middle-aged men and women.16
• Bone mass usually peaks in the third decade of life, but physical activity can improve the strength of your bones at any age.17
• Low-back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.18
• Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.19
• Back pain alone accounts for more than 264 million lost U.S. workdays in one year.20
• Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.21
• Low-back pain costs Americans at least $50 billion in health care costs each year22 —factor in lost wages and decreased productivity and that figure easily rises to more than $100 billion.23
• Almost half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.24
• Back pain is one of the leading reasons people are prescribed opioids.25
• Research shows that opioids do not provide clinically meaningful pain relief for people with chronic back pain.26
• As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain struggle with addiction.27
• Almost 80% of Americans prefer to first use options other than prescription drugs for their pain.28
• Patients who saw a chiropractor as their initial provider for low-back pain had 90% decreased odds of both early and long-term opioid use.29
• A clinical comparative trial found that chiropractic care combined with usual medical care for low-back pain provides greater pain relief and a greater reduction in disability than medical care alone.31
• Injured workers with similar injuries are 28 times less likely to have spinal surgery if the first point of contact is a doctor of chiropractic (DC) rather than a surgeon (MD).32
• In 2017, the American College of Physicians updated its guidelines for the treatment of acute and chronic low-back pain to recommend first using noninvasive, nondrug treatments —including spinal manipulation — before resorting to over-the-counter and prescription drugs.33
• In January 2015, the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits every major hospital in the United States, recognized the value of nondrug approaches by adding chiropractic care to its pain management standard.34
References available at acatoday.org.