Study design: Questionnaire survey.
Objective: To elicit orthopedic surgeons' attitudes toward chiropractic.
Summary of background data: Orthopedic surgeons and chiropractors often attend to similar patient populations, but little is known about the attitudes of orthopedic surgeons toward chiropractic.
Methods: We administered a 43-item cross-sectional survey to 1000 Canadian and American orthopedic surgeons that inquired about demographic variables and their knowledge and use of chiropractic. Imbedded in our survey was a 20-item chiropractic attitude questionnaire (CAQ).
Results: 487 surgeons completed the survey (response rate, 49%). North American orthopedic surgeons' attitudes toward chiropractic were diverse, with 44.5% endorsing a negative impression, 29.4% holding favorable views, and 26.1% being neutral. Approximately half of respondents referred patients for chiropractic care each year, mainly due to patient request.The majority of surgeons believed that chiropractors provide effective therapy for some musculoskeletal complaints (81.8%), and disagreed that chiropractors could provide effective relief for nonmusculoskeletal conditions (89.5%). The majority endorsed that chiropractors provide unnecessary treatment (72.7%), engage in overly-aggressive marketing (63.1%) and breed dependency in patients on short-term symptomatic relief (52.3%). In our adjusted generalized linear model, older age (-2.62 points on the CAQ for each 10 year increment; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -3.74 to -1.50), clinical interest in foot and ankle (-2.77; 95% CI = -5.43 to -0.10), and endorsement of the research literature (-4.20; 95% CI = -6.29 to -2.11), the media (-3.05; 95% CI = -5.92 to -0.19), medical school (-7.42; 95% CI = -10.60 to -4.25), or 'other' (-4.99; 95% CI = -8.81 to -1.17) as a source of information regarding chiropractic were associated with more negative attitudes; endorsing a relationship with a specific chiropractor (5.05; 95% CI = 3.00 to 7.10) or residency (3.79;95% CI = 0.17 to 7.41) as sources of information regarding chiropractic were associated with more positive attitudes.
Conclusion: North American orthopedic surgeons' attitudes toward chiropractic range from very positive to extremely negative. Improved interprofessional relations may be important to ensure optimal care of shared patients.