A profile of middle-aged women who consult a chiropractor or osteopath: findings from a survey of 11,143 Australian women

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 Jun;29(5):349-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2006.04.013.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence of chiropractic and osteopathy use and the profile of chiropractor/osteopath users among middle-aged Australian women.

Methods: This article reports on research conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. The focus of this article is the middle-aged women who responded to Survey 3 in 2001 when they were between the ages of 50 and 55 years. The demographic characteristics, health status, and health service use of chiropractic/osteopathy users and nonusers were compared using chi2 tests for categorical variables and t tests for continuous variables.

Results: We estimate that 16% of middle-aged women consult with a chiropractor or osteopath (after adjustment for the oversampling of rural women). Area of residence, education, and employment status were all statistically significantly associated with chiropractic and osteopath use. Specifically, women who live in nonurban areas were more likely to consult a chiropractor or osteopath, compared with women who live in urban areas. Women are significantly more likely to consult with a chiropractor/osteopath if they have had a major personal injury in the previous year, and women who use chiropractic/osteopathy are also high users of 'conventional' health services.

Conclusions: Chiropractic/osteopathy use among women in Australia is substantial and cannot be ignored by those providing or managing primary health care services for women. It is essential that the interface and communication between chiropractors/osteopaths and other health care providers be highlighted and maximized to establish and maintain effective overall patient coordination and management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population
  • Women's Health