October 3, 2017―To more fully understand how the U.S. public perceives chiropractic as a healthcare modality, in 2015, Palmer College of Chiropractic entered an agreement with the Gallup polling organization. The contract commissioned three annual surveys, each examining a different aspect of Americans’ attitudes toward chiropractic. On October 3, 2017, Palmer College released the findings of the third and final survey, 2017 Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Report: Americans’ Views of Prescription Pain Medication and Chiropractic Care, which was conducted from February 8 through March 13, 2017. This survey focused on the incidence of back and neck pain, how the public perceives prescription medication for managing such pain, and the use of chiropractic as an alternative to allopathic treatment.
Among the top-line findings in the report, a majority of Americans (eight out of 10) think chiropractic can help manage back and neck pain, but similarly, a majority (nearly 70 percent) would prefer to see a chiropractor who worked closely with their other doctors. A significant number of chiropractic patients find that out-of-pocket costs limit their access to care, as insurance coverage for chiropractic services is uneven and deductibles are increasingly high.
Other highlights from the survey include the following results:
A majority of Americans prefer to try other ways to address their pain before taking pain medication.
- 78 percent prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor.
- 27 percent of U.S. adults have seen a healthcare professional for significant neck or back pain in the last 12 months. Of those adults, more than half (54 percent) have had an ongoing problem with neck or back pain for five years or more.
- 22 percent of U.S. adults prefer to take pain medication prescribed by a doctor to treat their physical pain.
A majority of Americans think chiropractic care can help with back, neck, and joint pain as well as headaches.
- 81 percent think it can help with back and neck pain.
- 67 percent believe it can help with large joint pain (shoulders, knees, etc.).
- 57 percent think chiropractic can help with headaches.
A majority of U.S. adults have positive views of chiropractors.
- 63 percent agree most chiropractors have their patient’s best interest in mind.
- 52 percent agree most chiropractors are trustworthy.
Chiropractic patients and non-users favor collaboration on care.
- 68 percent said they would be more likely to go to a chiropractor if they knew their chiropractor would work closely with their other doctors to collaborate on care.
In aggregate, the three surveys suggest that significant opportunities exist for chiropractic to gain wider acceptance among the U.S. population, as the modality is generally well understood to be an alternative to pharmacologic solutions to pain management. This is particularly true with respect to back and neck pain. Chiropractors as practitioners, however, will have to work at gaining the trust of the public and work harder at explaining what chiropractic is, how it works, and the philosophy underpinning chiropractic care. In addition, third-party payers need to broaden reimbursement for chiropractic treatments and patients need more support with payment options to better afford care.
Read more about the report at www.palmer.edu/gallup-report.
Source: Palmer College of Chiropractic