Managing patients with acute and chronic non-specific neck pain: are Danish chiropractors compliant with guidelines?

Simon Sidenius Brockhusen*, André Bussières, Simon David French, Henrik Wulff Christensen, Tue Secher Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Non-specific neck pain represents a quarter of all chiropractic patient visits in Denmark. Evidence informed practice can help ensure providers use best available treatment, speed up patient recovery rate and reduce healthcare utilization. It is generally believed that Danish chiropractors treat according to best practice, but we do not know if this is true for management of neck-pain. The objective of this study was to investigate how Danish chiropractors treat patients with acute and chronic non-specific neck pain and determine if management is compliant with recent Canadian guideline recommendations. Methods: An online survey was sent to 554 members of the Danish chiropractic association. A three-part questionnaire was administered asking participants to: 1) rank the frequency of use of a list of treatment modalities; 2) rank treatment modalities they normally use for acute and chronic non-specific neck pain cases; and 3) provide demographic data. Treatment modalities ranked as "used often" were considered in further analysis and compared to the Canadian Guideline recommendations for neck pain. Chi-squared test was used to investigate differences between treatment and guideline compliance for chronic and acute patients. Results: A 65% (362/544) response rate was achieved. The sample demographics were representative of a recent Danish study of the entire chiropractic profession. Danish chiropractors use a wide range of treatment modalities, including spinal manipulation, manual therapy, exercises and information/patient education on most of their acute neck pain patients. The use of other treatment modalities and especially exercises was more commonly used with chronic cases. Guideline compliance was 10% for recommendations for acute patients and 43% for chronic patients. Conclusions: Danish chiropractors use a wide range of treatment options for managing adult patients with acute and chronic non-specific neck-pain. However, there were important differences in treatments chiropractors offered for acute and chronic patients, particularly for the use of exercise therapy, which was mainly reserved for chronic patients. Danish chiropractors' compliance with guidelines for neck-pain patients was low, but is neither worse nor better than what is seen for other complaints or health disciplines. Our findings suggest a need for active knowledge translation strategies and robust implementation research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. 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.


  • chiropractic
  • clinical practice guidelines
  • neck-pain
  • treatment
  • management


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