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Open Access Research

Physical injury assessment of male versus female chiropractic students when learning and performing various adjustive techniques: a preliminary investigative study

Debra W Bisiacchi* and Laura L Huber

Author Affiliations

Division of Chiropractic Sciences, Life University College of Chiropractic, 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta, GA 30060, USA

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Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2006, 14:17  doi:10.1186/1746-1340-14-17

Published: 24 August 2006



Reports of musculoskeletal injuries that some chiropractic students experienced while in the role of adjustor became increasingly evident and developed into the basis of this study. The main objective of this study was to survey a select student population and identify, by gender, the specific types of musculoskeletal injuries they experienced when learning adjustive techniques in the classroom, and performing them in the clinical setting.


A survey was developed to record musculoskeletal injuries that students reported to have sustained while practicing chiropractic adjustment set-ups and while delivering adjustments. The survey was modeled from similar instruments used in the university's clinic as well as those used in professional practice. Stratified sampling was used to obtain participants for the study. Data reported the anatomical areas of injury, adjustive technique utilized, the type of injury received, and the recovery time from sustained injuries. The survey also inquired as to the type and area of any past physical injuries as well as the mechanism(s) of injury.


Data obtained from the study identified injuries of the shoulder, wrist, elbow, neck, low back, and mid-back. The low back was the most common injury site reported by females, and the neck was the most common site reported by males. The reported wrist injuries in both genders were 1% male complaints and 17% female complaints. A total of 13% of female respondents reported shoulder injuries, whereas less than 1% of male respondents indicated similar complaints.


The data collected from the project indicated that obtaining further information on the subject would be worthwhile, and could provide an integral step toward developing methods of behavior modification in an attempt to reduce and/or prevent the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries.