A workforce survey of Australian chiropractic: the profile and practice features of a nationally representative sample of 2,005 chiropractors

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Jan 5;17(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1542-x.


Background: This paper reports the profile of the Australian chiropractic workforce and characteristics of chiropractic care from a large nationally-representative sample of practitioners.

Methods: A 21-item questionnaire examining practitioner, practice and clinical management characteristics was distributed to all registered chiropractors (n = 4,684) in Australia in 2015 via both online and hard copy mail out.

Results: The survey attracted a response rate of 43% (n = 2,005), and the sample is largely representative of the national chiropractic workforce on a number of key indicators. The average age of the chiropractors was 42.1 years, nearly two-thirds are male, and the vast majority hold a bachelor degree or higher qualification. Australian chiropractors are focused upon treating people across a wide age range who mainly present with musculoskeletal conditions. Australian chiropractors have referral relationships with a range of conventional, allied health and complementary medicine (CAM) providers.

Conclusion: The chiropractic profession represents a substantial component of the contemporary Australian health care system with chiropractors managing an estimated 21.3 million patient visits per year. While the Australian chiropractic workforce is well educated, research engagement and research capacity remains sub-optimal and there is much room for further capacity building to help chiropractic reach full potential as a key integrated profession within an evidence-based health care system. Further rich, in-depth research is warranted to improve our understanding of the role of chiropractic within the Australian health care system.

Keywords: Chiropractic; Chiropractor; Complementary and alternative medicine; Practice-based research network; Workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Chiropractic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Personnel* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce