Factors that influence scope of practice of the chiropractic profession in Australia: a scoping review

Desmond Wiggins*, Aron Downie, Roger Engel, Benjamin T. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    32 Downloads (Pure)


    Introduction: The World Health Organization describes chiropractic as a health profession that treats the musculoskeletal system and the effects of that system on the function of the nervous system and general health. Notwithstanding such descriptions, scope of practice remains a contentious issue in Australia chiropractic with various authors defining it differently. To date, the peak governing body, the Chiropractic Board of Australia, has focused on title protection rather than defining a scope of practice for the profession. A well-defined scope of practice is important, as it helps to identify what is acceptable in the profession and the role chiropractic has in the broader healthcare system. 

    Objective: The objective of this scoping review was to explore the literature on the factors that influence scope of practice of chiropractic in Australia. 

    Methods: This study employed scoping review methodology to document the current state of the literature on factors that influence scope of practice of the chiropractic profession in Australia. 

    Results: A total of 1270 articles were identified from the literature search. Six studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. Four factors that influence scope of practice were identified: education, professional identity, patient safety, and organisational structure. Conclusion: The results of this study will inform future discussions around establishing a framework for a more comprehensive scope of practice for the chiropractic profession in Australia. Such a framework has the potential to benefit patient safety, professional identity, public perception, education, and regulation of the profession.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number19
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Australia
    • Chiropractic
    • Scope of practice
    • Scoping review


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