The prevalence of chiropractic-related terminology on South African chiropractors’ webpages: a cross-sectional study

F. Ismail, M. Pretorius, C. Peterson, C. Yelverton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Effective communication is imperative for successful interprofessional collaborative interactions that augment both patient-centred and evidence based care. Inquiry into the prevalence of chiropractic-related terminology on South African chiropractor’s webpages has not been explored to date. The implications of such analysis could indicate the professions’ ability to effectively communicate in interdisciplinary settings. Method: From 1 to 15 June 2020, Google search was used to identify the webpages (excluding social media accounts) of South African private practice chiropractors registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA). Webpages were word-searched for eight chiropractic terms with context: subluxation; manipulate(-ion); adjust(-ing/-ment); holism(-tic); alignment; vital(-ism/-istic); wellness; and innate intelligence. Data collected was transferred to an Excel spreadsheet. Accuracy of information was verified by the researchers through a process of double checking. The number of instances each term was used, and certain socio-demographic data were recorded. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were used to summarise and analyse the data. Results: Among 884 AHPCSA-registered South African chiropractors, 336 webpages were identified and analysed. From 1 to 15 June 2020, the most commonly found terms on 336 South African chiropractic webpages were 'adjust(-ing/-ment)', 'manipulate/manipulation', and 'wellness', with prevalence estimates of 64.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 59.0% to 69.2%), 51.8% (95% CI, 46.5% to 57.1%), and 33.0% (95% CI, 28.2% to 38.2%), respectively. The least commonly found terms were 'innate intelligence' and 'vital(-ism/-istic)', with prevalence estimates of 0.60% (95% CI, 0.16% to 2.1%) and 0.30% (95% CI, 0.05% to 1.7%), respectively. Manipulate(-ion) was used more by male chiropractors (p = 0.015). The longer a chiropractor was in practice the more likely they were to use profession-specific terms (p = 0.025). The most frequently occurring combination of terms were adjust(-ing/-ment) and manipulate(-ion), found in 38 out of 336 webpages (11.3%; 95% CI, 8.4% to 15.1%). Conclusion: The use of chiropractic-related terminology on South African chiropractic webpages was common, with the prevalence of term use varying by type of terms, by gender of the chiropractor, and by clinical practice experience. Better understanding of the effects of chiropractic terminology use on interprofessional and patient interactions and communication is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Chiropractic
  • Communication
  • Evidence based practice
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Manipulation
  • Patient centered care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chiropractics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine


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