Expectations of chiropractic treatment: what are the expectations of new patients consulting a chiropractor, and do chiropractors and patients have similar expectations?

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002 Jun;25(5):300-5. doi: 10.1067/mmt.2002.124422.


Background: There are conflicting views about whether expectation plays a role in patient satisfaction. No studies regarding the importance of patient expectations have been done in the chiropractic field.

Objective: To investigate the expectations of new patients consulting a chiropractor and to evaluate differences and similarities in expectations between chiropractors and patients.

Design: A questionnaire survey.

Study participants: Thirty chiropractors and 336 patients from 17 private practices throughout Sweden.

Results: Chiropractors and patients expected the chiropractor to find the problem and explain it to the patients, and they also expected patients to feel better and become free of symptoms. However, the following differences were revealed: patients had lower expectations of the chiropractic treatment than the chiropractors but higher expectations of being given advice and exercises than the chiropractors did. There was also a tendency for the patients to expect to get better faster than the chiropractors expected them to.

Conclusion: Although chiropractors and patients had some common goals in relation to the therapeutic encounter, there was also a mismatch in certain areas. It is possible that these differences in expectations could influence the treatment and outcome of the treatment negatively. This reinforces the importance of communication between the chiropractor and the patients. More research is needed to evaluate whether fulfilment of expectations actually has an impact on patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chiropractic / psychology*
  • Chiropractic / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Sweden