Are chiropractors CAM practitioners?

They don’t thnk so. But what to call them is up in the air, according to this survey by researchers at the Cleveland Chiropractic College-Kansas City, Missouri.

First, the details.

  • This was an electronic survey of chiropractic college faculty and practicing chiropractors.
  • 191 faculty members at 4 chiropractic colleges — 2 in the Midwest and 2 in southern California — were surveyed.
  • 108 practitioners were located in 32 states.
  • Among other things, the survey gathered information about preferences of chiropractors to be associated with mainstream medicine, integrated medicine, or complementary and alternative medicine.

And, the results.

  • 71 (37%) of the faculty members completed the survey.
  • 61 (57%) of the practitioners completed the survey.
  • 69% did not believe that chiropractic should be categorized as CAM.
  • 27% thought chiropractors should be classified as integrated medicine providers.
  • 20% of practitioners and 6% of faculty considered chiropractic as mainstream medicine.

The bottom line?
It seems there’s a lack of consensus on how chiropractic physicians wish to be viewed.

Perhaps it’s because the usual descriptors are offensive to them.

“Whenever the media speaks about natural healthcare professions, it often refers to them as ‘alternative,’ ‘complementary,’ or ‘adjunct,’ observes Dr. James Winterstein, who is president of the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois. “Whatever qualifier is used, natural healthcare physicians are often cast as merely supportive players or second tier when compared to conventional allopathic medical doctors.”

And that’s the problem; the usual adjectives position non-allopathic healthcare providers as subservient.

Everyone wants respect — even allopathic physicians. Don’t believe me? Just ask an MD how they feel about being labeled as a “provider” by insurance companies.

4/26/08 21:16 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.