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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Jan;23(1):32-6.

Stress management: an exploratory study of chiropractic patients.

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RMIT, Department of Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Complementary Medicine, Faculty of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.



Stress is a recognized variable in the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of musculoskeletal conditions; chiropractic care is reputed to be successful in the management of stress-related visceral conditions. It may be useful for chiropractors to include stress management as a clinical care option.


To explore screening tools to aid stress self-assessment, investigate patients' perceptions of stress management as a chiropractic care option, and examine which stress-management strategies chiropractic patients perceive as most useful.


A multiphase qualitative study with purposive sampling of chiropractic clinics to maximize the diversity of the patient population. Convenience sampling of patients was undertaken in a Western Australian case study, an inner city, and a national exploratory study. Data for the case study were collected by semistructured interview. Questionnaires and a self-assessed stress-management task were used to collect data from the inner city and national studies. Data was thematically analyzed, and results were triangulated.


The sample size of chiropractic patients in the West Australian case study was 48, 15 in the Western Australia exploratory study and 36 in the national study. A number of chiropractic patients participating in this study perceive themselves to be stressed and were interested in having stress-management strategies included in their chiropractic care. Individual patients preferred different stress-management options. This qualitative study found little justification for routinely using a stress-assessment technique more complex than asking the patient to rate his or her stress level as absent, minimal, moderate, or severe. Exercise, particularly walking, was found to be a prevalent pasttime among participants in the case study.


This study was too small to warrant statistical analysis; nonetheless, the results of this study are relevant because some patients believe they would benefit from chiropractic care that includes information about stress-management strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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