Chiropractic Clinical Research: Progress and Recommendations

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Objective: The purpose of this white paper is to help inform the chiropractic clinical research agenda with a focus on the United States. Methods and Discussion: The recommendations and action items from 2 previous articles published in 1997 are discussed within the context of 3 broad topics: research culture, research infrastructure, and clinical research studies. Progress made toward the action items in these areas is summarized. A summary of findings is presented of the most influential clinical research studies during the past decade performed by or with major contributions by chiropractic investigators. In light of the current evidence and previous recommendations, new clinical research recommendations are proposed. Conclusions: Based on the assessment of the scientific literature and research currently underway, it is evident that members of the chiropractic research community have made important progress in becoming active players in the clinical research arena. During the past decade, the work of chiropractic researchers has contributed substantially to the amount and quality of the evidence for or against spinal manipulation in the management of low back pain, neck pain, headache, and other conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-706
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This investigation was conducted with the support of contract 230-01-0051 with the US Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions.

Funding Information:
Chiropractic educational institutions should establish partnerships with established medical institutions. 2 There has been a trend of increasing collaboration with medical institutions. Partnerships have been particularly encouraged by grant funding requirements at NIH and HRSA. Faculty members at medical institutions serve as investigators on grants awarded to chiropractic educational institutions (eg, chiropractic demonstration projects), and chiropractic college faculty have served as investigators for CAM centers and R25 education grants. These collaborations have laid the foundation for further collaborations on independent R21 and R01 grants from NIH and Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now Agency for Health Care and Quality). There are also collaborations with HRSA geriatric education centers, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Defense.

Funding Information:
Despite success in securing research grants from external funding sources, the profession should protect its research efforts by expanding internal funding. Federal funding may become difficult because of the ever increasing competition for limited funds dedicated to CAM research and increasing emphasis on mechanism research. 71 Also, government funding priorities do not always include chiropractic interests, and shifting priorities could leave chiropractic research vulnerable. Although it is not reasonable to expect the profession to be able to support multiple large-scale tertiary trials, it is important for chiropractic foundations to be able to support a greater number and variety of moderate-size efficacy/effectiveness trials. Internal funding is required to support the infrastructure necessary to gather the pilot data required to apply for federal funding. The profession should continue funding advanced research degrees.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Chiropractic
  • Outcomes Research
  • Randomized Clinical Trials
  • Scientific Research


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