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A cross-sectional examination of the profile of chiropractors recruited to the Australian Chiropractic Research Network (ACORN): a sustainable resource for future chiropractic research
  1. Jon Adams1,
  2. Wenbo Peng1,
  3. Amie Steel1,
  4. Romy Lauche1,
  5. Craig Moore1,
  6. Lyndon Amorin-Woods2,
  7. David Sibbritt1
  1. 1 Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Distinguished Professor Jon Adams; Jon.Adams{at}


Objectives The Australian Chiropractic Research Network (ACORN) practice-based research network (PBRN) cohort was established to provide sustainable infrastructure necessary to address lack of rigorous investigation and to bridge the research–practice gap focused on chiropractic care for future years. This paper presents the profile of chiropractors recruited to the ACORN PBRN, a nationally representative sample of chiropractors working in Australia.

Design Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a cohort study of chiropractors in Australia.

Setting All registered chiropractors in Australia were invited to participate in the ACORN study and those who completed a practitioner questionnaire and consent form were included in the PBRN cohort.

Participants A total of 1680 chiropractors (36%) were recruited to the cohort database. The average age of the PBRN participants is 41.9 years and 63% are male. The vast majority of the PBRN participants hold a university degree.

Results General practitioners were identified as the most popular referral source for chiropractic care and low back pain and neck pain were the most common conditions ‘often’ treated by the PBRN chiropractors. The chiropractors in this PBRN cohort rated high velocity, low amplitude adjustment/manipulation/mobilisation as the most commonly used technique/method and soft tissue therapy as the most frequently employed musculoskeletal intervention in their patient management.

Conclusions The ACORN PBRN cohort constitutes the largest coverage of any single healthcare profession via a national voluntary PBRN providing a sustainable resource for future follow-up. The ACORN cohort provides opportunities for further nested substudies related to chiropractic care, chiropractors, their patients and a vast range of broader healthcare issues with a view to helping build a diverse but coordinated research programme and further research capacity building around Australian chiropractic.

  • chiropractic
  • practice-based research network

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to planning this ACORN PBRN cohort paper and approved the final version of the manuscript. JA and DS designed the research study. JA, DS, AS, CM and LA-W contributed to the data collection, and DS analysed the data. WP wrote the first draft. JA and DS implemented the critical revision of the manuscript. All authors provided final editing and approval of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. The research reported in this paper was independently designed and conducted by the ACORN Project team.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The ACORN PBRN has been approved by the University of Technology Sydney Human Ethics Committee (approval no 2014000027).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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