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Table 3 Patients’ understanding of the mechanism of chiropractic treatment

From: Contemporary chiropractic practice in the UK: a field study of a chiropractor and his patients in a suburban chiropractic clinic

Name andAge Reply to the question: “What is your understanding of what Ken does?”
Sid, 46 Bjorn: “So, what is your understanding of what Ken the chiropractor does?....
  Sid: “Well, basically to put it right in alignment….You actually put the skeleton back to where it should be…..
Uma, 60 “I presume that he tries to manipulate things back to where they should be…”
Liz, 36 “I hear nice crunches, so I guess sort of things are clicking back in and….I suppose the way I think is mainly my spine is put out a little bit and it’s kind of slightly off and…he’s moving my bones back into place again.
Pat, 26 “Just getting the vertebrae back into line by clicking them, that is all I really know.
Ron, 30 “He said the lower muscles are quite tensed up, quite sort of fused…I need to do some exercises, where I go away and…stretch those muscles out and….I think the vertebras that need to be sort of clicked back in place…and he sort of did three clicks today on the lower back on the left hand side and he just stretched me out…”
Mary, 50 (Mary was receiving supportive treatment for stiffness and pain in her right hip joint as well as treatment of the spine. Her understanding involved the mobility of the joint). “It’s releasing the things that are very, very tight….He does the gentle massage bit first but….the quick movements are like a release. That’s how it feels inside me; bits that have stuck together have been opened up a bit…..I am under the impression that the spine is just sort of compacted somewhat and whatever he does sort of releases that.
Joanne, 35 (Joanne used the term unlocking to describe the treatment of her lower back and pelvis)
  “…Obviously the manipulation of the joints…..helps in movement in things….that don’t work properly.......My pelvis was kind of locked and Ken did this manoeuvre and unlocks my pelvis so to speak.
Dora, 51 “I have kind of read up on things…… not that well. I’m no expert….and looked at alternative things as well and…it does make sense with the skeleton and how it works, and alignment………Ken stretching me and clicking me and that would keep you right as opposed to if you have an injury…..you find you work yourself the wrong way.
Clare, 27 “From what I gather, if the joint, the muscles, the actual joints…don’t they affect the muscles which can cause the pain?…….I have never really asked him as to why or what the clicking of joints does.
Tanya, 54 “He has said a bit about muscle and bones and shown me things….He also uses terminology that makes me laugh because I don’t understand him….
Owen, 36 (Owen, a trainee male nurse, correlated the effects of treatment to circulation). “The joint manipulation from what I understand is….opening a joint up a little bit…flowing blood supply in there, crushing it all up sort of thing.
Vera, 46 (Vera had little interest in understanding the mechanisms of treatment). “The mechanics of it, I don’t understand, no. I leave that to Ken and I am assured by what and how he is that he is doing everything correctly.