Background: The primary aim of this study was to (1) determine the clinical management approach of practicing chiropractors with regard to patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and (2) measure the response rate of a telephone survey.
Methods: A survey instrument was developed and pretested, and a case-specific clinical vignette was generated for a hypothetical typical 12-year-old girl with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The instrument addressed 3 domains: the specific management of idiopathic scoliosis, elements guiding the general selection of treatment recommendations, and demographics of respondents. The sample frame consisted of 62,000 US chiropractors, of whom 165 were randomly selected for the survey sample. Interviews were conducted by telephone through use of the tested survey instrument.
Results: The response rate was 69% (114/165). Of the 51 nonrespondents, 15 did not have a listed business telephone number and 24 were not in active practice. The response rate of those who met the inclusion criteria (practicing chiropractor with a listed telephone number) was 90% (114/126). The gender, chiropractic college, and years in practice of respondents in this survey were similar to those of respondents in 3 other national surveys. In general, the respondents would provide 6 months of "intensive" chiropractic therapy, then follow the patient for 4 years (near skeletal maturity). Eighty-two percent of respondents named diversified technique as their primary adjustive treatment, 87% would use exercise, and 30% would use electric muscle stimulation as an adjunct to manual therapy.
Conclusion: Most surveyed chiropractors would use similar methods (frequency and length of treatment, manipulation technique, and exercise) in the treatment of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. A high response rate to a national survey can be achieved through use of telephone contact.