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Chiropractic Research Review

Chiropractic for Special-Needs Populations

The representative chiropractic patient is a 25- to 50-year-old Caucasian female with high income and education levels. Considering that back pain is common in this group, chiropractic has principally focused on this type of patient.

Other groups - notably minorities, the disabled, and those with low income - may sometimes be overlooked by the chiropractic profession, which can lead to a perception that chiropractic is an elitist profession... targeting only those patients from whom financial gain is derived.

This critique offers a broad overview of the benefits and obstacles involved in developing a community-based educational outpatient clinic for persons normally underserviced by chiropractic. The author also provides strategies to overcome these barriers. Some of the key points of the article are listed below:

* The primary benefits of educational outpatient clinics include learning experience for chiropractic students; the re-establishment of "grass-roots" chiropractic; health service/spinal adjustments for those normally not able to receive it; cost-effectiveness for the health care system through early identification of problems; "demystification" of the profession; and positive media/public exposure.

* Underserviced populations can benefit from chiropractic care through wellness and preventative care - in addition to spinal manipulation.

* People avoid chiropractic care for a variety of reasons, such as lack of transportation; failure to take time off work; fear/unfamiliarity with chiropractic; and high costs of x-rays, treatment, etc.

* Some possible approaches to overcoming obstacles are aligning with other public health agencies; minimizing costs; developing volunteer and sponsorship networks; and providing home care or flexible hours.

The author concludes, "As members of the health care community, chiropractic practitioners, colleges, and organizations must consider it their responsibility to reach not only those persons who are able to seek out care and who can afford it, but also those who cannot do either."

Gleberzon BJ. Developing Community-Based Outpatient Clinics and Educational Programs for Underserviced Populations. Topics in CLinical Chiropractic Musculoskeletal Health

Chiropractic Research Review

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