UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Self-reported use of family physician, chiropractor and physiotherapy services among adult Canadians with chronic back disorders: an observational study Bath, Brenna; Lawson, Josh; Ma, Dennis; Trask, Catherine


Background: Chronic back disorders (CBD) are prevalent, costly, and among the most common reasons for seeking primary care; however, little is known regarding the comparative use of family physician, chiropractic, and physiotherapy services among people with CBD in Canada. Elucidating these differences may identify potential gaps in access to care and inform the development of strategies to improve access. The research objectives were to investigate patterns of health care use and to profile factors associated with self-reported use of family physicians, chiropractors, and physiotherapists among adult Canadians with CBD. Methods: The combined 2009 and 2010 Canadian Community Health Surveys conducted by Statistics Canada were used to investigate self-reported health care use among adults with CBD. This complex survey employs population weights and bootstrapping to be representative of the Canadian population. Following descriptive analyses, we used multiple logistic regression to profile self-reported health care use while statistically controlling for possible confounding effects. Results: The majority of adult respondents with CBD sought care only with a family physician (53.8%), with 20.9% and 16.2% seeking care with combined family physician/chiropractor or family physician/physiotherapist, respectively. Few respondents sought care only with a chiropractor (2.5%) or physiotherapist (1.0%). After adjustment, differential patterns of utilization (p < 0.05) were evident between provider groups with respect to age, gender, socioeconomic status, rural/urban residence, functional limitations, and presence of co-morbidities. Conclusions: This research highlights potential inequities in access to physiotherapists and chiropractors in relation to family physicians among adult Canadians with CBD, particularly among lower socioeconomic status and rural/remote populations.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)