The objectives of this article are to (1) describe spinal manipulation use by time, place, and person, and (2) identify predictors of the use of spinal manipulation. We conducted a systematic review of the English-language literature published from January 1, 1980 through June 30, 2011. Of 822 citations identified, 213 were deemed potentially relevant; 75 were included after further consideration. Twenty-one additional articles were identified from reference lists. The literature is heavily weighted toward North America, Europe, and Australia and thus largely precludes inferences about spinal manipulation use in other parts of the world. In the regions covered by the literature, chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists are most likely to deliver spinal manipulation, often in conjunction with other conservative therapies. Back and neck pain are the most frequent indications for receiving spinal manipulation; non-musculoskeletal conditions comprise a very small percentage of indications. Although spinal manipulation is more commonly used in adults than children, evidence suggests that spinal manipulation may be more likely used for non-musculoskeletal ailments in children than in adults. Patient satisfaction with spinal manipulation is very high.
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