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Chiropractic Research Review

Consider STRESS When Managing Your Patients

Increasing psychosocial evidence suggests that stress management deserves consideration in the realm of the clinical encounter. Previous studies have shown that stressors such as monotonous work, high perceived workload and time pressure are related to musculoskeletal disorders, particularly chronic back pain.

Studies have also indicated that stress management techniques can positively influence health and disease outcomes.

In a study designed to explore the contribution of stress as a potential disease trigger among chiropractic patients, 138 patients attending one of 10 chiropractic clinics completed two questionnaires that assessed level of stress with respect to emotional, cognitive and physical function. Results indicated that more than 30% of patients regarded themselves as moderately to severely stressed, and more than 50% of a subgroup of patients with acute or chronic biomechanical problems perceived their physical level of stress as moderate to severe. Additionally, the subgroup of patients with fibromyalgia perceived themselves as moderately to severely stressed in larger numbers than any of the other subgroups in the study.

Conclusion: Nearly one in three chiropractic patients in this study reported at least moderate levels of stress, and greater than 50% felt that stress had a moderate or severe impact on their current problem. Perhaps most significantly, 71% of patients stated that it would be helpful if their chiropractic care included strategies to help cope with stress. The authors believe that these results offer evidence that chiropractors may want to "...actively contemplate the extent to which they wish to routinely incorporate stress management in their protocol for clinical care."

Jamison J. Stress: The chiropractic patients' self-perceptions. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, July/August 1999:22(6), pp395-398. Reprints: Tel: (800) 325-4177 (ext.4350); Fax: (314) 432-1380

Chiropractic Research Review

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