Gallup Poll: Majority in U.S. Say Chiropractic Works for Neck and Back Pain

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A new Gallup Poll released on September 8, 2015, showed that a large number of people in the United States have used chiropractic and believe it to be of help for a number of conditions. The poll, commissioned by Palmer College of Chiropractic, was based on the results from a Gallup Panel study of 5,442 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted February 16 through May 6, 2015.

Some of the highlights of the Gallup Poll reveal:

  • Two-thirds say chiropractic is effective for neck and back pain.
  • Many adults say chiropractors think of a patient’s best interest.
  • More than 33 million U.S. adults saw a chiropractor last year.

Overall, about half of U.S. adults have seen a chiropractor sometime in their lives. Each year about 14% of the adult population goes to a chiropractor. Additionally, most people think chiropractors have their patient’s best interest in mind and are trustworthy.

In spite of decades of organized opposition from the medical society, only a small percentage of the population had a negative view of chiropractic or chiropractors thinking they did not have their patient’s best interests in mind (8%), or were not trustworthy (9%). People who went to chiropractors were more likely to have a positive opinion of chiropractic than those who did not.

The poll also showed that there were no specific groups of people more likely to go to a chiropractor. Income level and education was not a significant factor in who utilized chiropractic care. The poll did show that people aged 35 and older (56%) are more likely than younger adults (37%) to go to a chiropractor. Also, the poll reported that blacks are less likely than whites or Hispanics to use chiropractic care. Additionally, women are slightly more likely to see a chiropractor than men.

The poll did point out that the public had two areas where their knowledge related to chiropractic was failing. The first area was in relation to the rigorous education needed to become a chiropractor, and the second was the extent to which their insurance covered chiropractic services. The poll researchers estimated that chiropractic utilization would be even higher if the public were aware of the level of education a chiropractor is required to have, and if information on insurance coverage for chiropractic were more readily available.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, “Adults younger than 50 represent a unique opportunity for the future of chiropractic because this group is more likely than older respondents to say a chiropractor would be their first choice to see about neck or back pain. However, adults aged 18 to 34 are more sensitive to chiropractic costs than are older adults.”

A copy of the full Gallup poll can be found at www.palmer.edu/uploadedfiles/pages/alumni/gallop-report-palmer-college.pdf.

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