OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics specific to the chiropractic profession in South Africa and compare them with those of other countries where similar surveys have been conducted.
METHODS: This survey utilized a structured questionnaire designed to reflect chiropractic practice in South Africa. The questionnaire was made available online for completion by 714 chiropractic practitioners who were registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa in 2015. Participation was both voluntary and anonymous.
RESULTS: The response rate was 32%; of the respondents, 56% were males and 44% were females. The majority of the respondents had a master's degree in chiropractic. Most participants worked between 31 and 40 hours and saw fewer than 50 patients per week, typically allocating 31 to 45 minutes for initial consultations and 16 to 30 minutes for follow-up visits. Participants saw more female patients than male patients, and most patients were between the ages of 31 and 50 years. Patients typically presented to chiropractors during the acute phase, the primary complaint was low back and pelvic pain/injury without leg pain, and overuse/repetitive stress was reported as being the common etiology. Chiropractors have developed interprofessional referral relationships with general practitioners and massage therapists.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared with similar survey analyses from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, our findings showed overlap, but some characteristics were unique to the chiropractic profession in South Africa.