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Chiropractic Research Review

Bringing Chiropractic Theory into Practice

This paper explores issues pertaining to developing a scientifically robust chiropractic theory that can be tested using the scientific method. The author states that "evidence-based health care implies that the procedures and behaviors associated with health care have been subjected to rigorous standards of scientific observation, experimentation and documentation." Scientific evidence has become the hallmark for health care decision-making, emphasizing the importance of increasing the profession's focus on the science of chiropractic.

This article discusses the challenge of achieving evidence-based health care as it relates to the chiropractic profession. Specifically, the author attempts to "address an educational need for the future by defining key terms and concepts in theory creation and linking them to important clinical decision-making steps in case management." Key concepts elucidated include: theory and constructs; operational definitions; propositions; measurement; reliability (intra/interexaminer); diagnosis vs. outcome; and specific chiropractic definitions (adjustment, subluxation, etc.)

The author offers numerous key points for students and practitioners as summary to his observations, including the following:

* Chiropractic theory needs to develop operational definitions of the key concepts of health, subluxation and adjustment.

* Clinicians need to understand the term "evidence-based" and the role of research in developing evidence.

* Reimbursement and other decisions affecting practice behavior will increasingly be based on evidence developed through basic, clinical and health services research.

* The chiropractic profession currently lacks the resources to conduct appropriate research addressing challenges to chiropractic theory.

Note: In addition to using scientific evidence, the term "evidence-based practice" also applies to the balanced utilization of sound clinical judgment and clinical experience when making clinical care decisions, and learning how to make rational decisions in the absence of scientific evidence.

Meeker WC. Concepts germane to an evidence-based application of chiropractic theory. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic 2000:7(1), pp67-73.
Reprints: (800) 638-8437

Chiropractic Research Review

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