Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Chiropractic & Manual Therapies and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

The prevalence of the term subluxation in North American English-Language Doctor of chiropractic programs

Timothy A Mirtz1* and Stephen M Perle23

Author Affiliations

1 Indiana Institute of Technology, School of Education, Fort Wayne, Indiana USA

2 University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA

3 School of Chiropractic and Sports Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2011, 19:14  doi:10.1186/2045-709X-19-14

Published: 17 June 2011

Abstract

Background

The subluxation construct has been a divisive term in the chiropractic profession. There is a paucity of evidence to document the subluxation. Some authors have questioned the propriety of continuing to use the term.

Aim

The purpose of this study is to examine current North American English language chiropractic college academic catalogs and determine the prevalence of the term subluxation in the respective chiropractic program curricula.

Methods

Sixteen current English-language North American chiropractic college academic catalogs were studied. The term subluxation was searched for in each of the catalogs. Categories were developed for the usage of the term. These included "total times mentioned", "subluxation mentioned in a course description", "subluxation mentioned in a course title", "subluxation mentioned in a technique course description", and "subluxation mentioned in a philosophy course description." The prevalence of the "subluxation mentioned in a course description" was compared to the total programmatic curriculum.

Results

Palmer College in Florida devoted 22.72% of its curriculum to courses mentioning the subluxation followed by Life University (Marietta, GA) and Sherman College with 16.44% and 12.80% respectively. As per specific coursework or subjects, an average of 5.22 courses or subjects have descriptions mentioning the term subluxation. Three schools made no mention of the term subluxation in their academic catalogs; they were National University of Health Sciences, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, and Southern California University of Health Sciences.

Conclusion

Despite the controversies and paucity of evidence the term subluxation is still found often within the chiropractic curricula of most North American chiropractic programs. Future research should determine if changes in accreditation standards and research on evidence based practice will affect this prevalence.