The knowledge, perception and utilisation of vitamin and mineral supplements, natural medicines and pharmacological agents as adjuncts to chiropractic practice in South Africa
De Gouveia, Natalie
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Background: The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge, perception and utilisation of vitamins and minerals, natural medicines and pharmacological agents as adjuncts to Chiropractic practice in South Africa. Method: This study was a population based cross sectional survey utilising a descriptive, quantitative questionnaire study design. The questionnaire was distributed to all practicing qualified Chiropractors (n=388) and masters Chiropractic students (n=102) in South Africa. Results: The results obtained (30.4% response rate), indicated that the majority of the respondents (62.8%) felt qualified to advise patients on vitamins and mineral supplements and had a positive view of the use of vitamins and minerals as part of Chiropractic patient management (86.6%). The majority of the practitioners were aware that topical substances are part of the scope of practice and males were nearly twice as likely as females to use them. The majority thought biopuncture should be available to Chiropractors (82%) and felt that Chiropractors should challenge the legislation to incorporate biopuncture as part of the scope of practice (77.5%). Most respondents agreed with the statement indicating that NSAIDS should be part of Chiropractic scope of practice and 71% of respondents felt that being able to use NSAIDS in non-emergency situations would enhance patient retention. This study revealed that amongst the student population the majority, if allowed, would consider administering pharmacological agents in practice (55.1%). Conclusion: A correlation exists between the perception, knowledge and utilisation of vitamins and minerals, natural medicines and pharmacological agents in the Chiropractic profession with respect to the demographic data and there is a significant difference in opinion between qualified Chiropractors and Chiropractic masters students regarding perception, knowledge and utilisation of these adjuncts to practice.