Well over half of chiropractic patients are female - which means that it's especially important for chiropractors to have a good understanding of women's health issues.
Posted in Chiropractor on Tuesday, March 29, 2022
By Dr. Kris Petrocco-Napuli
According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) 2020 practice Analysis, 57% of the patients in which we as chiropractors treat are female and 46% of those patients are between the ages of 30-60 years old.1 Given that the majority of the patients chiropractors treat are female, providers must be relevant in conditions which impact women most commonly. As providers, it is important to gain an in-depth perspective on female patients’ history and to remember each physiological journey is different. This includes asking questions about their past history and correlating the current complaint. Treating the whole female patient becomes imperative to impact their health and wellness.
Hormonal and Physiological Transitions
Females can experience many different types of hormonal and physiological transitions. Two of the most noted are menarche and menopause. These two transitions are incredibly significant to the female patient as they set the stage for many of the other physiological cascades. For instance, the age of the first menstrual cycle can have significant impact on the journey of a female from increasing the likelihood of breast cancer to correlating with the age of menopause.3 Female patients need and want providers that can communicate this effectively and efficiently. However, understanding the conditions which impact the female population is the first step as a provider.
According to the World Health Organization, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.2 The mental health of our female patients has never been so important. Now more than ever the pandemic has had great impact on the mental health of individuals. This is not the only factor, but it has created a significant increase in the need of care by licensed mental health providers. As chiropractic practitioners, diagnosing and treating mental health conditions is not in our scope but, it is important that we recognize when signs and symptoms in our patients such as anxiety or depression. In addition, it is important to consider how we respond to our patients and to have resources readily available.
Practice Patient-Centered Care
Patient-centered care has never been more important when treating our female population and supporting autonomous decision making. Women are known to be the primary household decision makers for health care across the county. It is important as providers to play a role in patient education so that they can make good decisions not only for themselves but those that they care for. Patient empowerment with knowledge also plays a role in supporting patients to advocate for the care they need, want, and deserve.
As a provider, you can provide signficant benefits to your female patients by increasing your education of conditions that specifically impact women’s health, and by identifying and supporting research and employing evidence-based practice in your care.
For more information on Women's Health and Chiropractic, listen to our webinar: Women's Health & Chiropractic Roundtable.
1. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2020 - NBCE survey analysis. National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. (2020, June 29). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.nbce.org/practice-analysis-of-chiropractic-2020/
2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). World Health Organization. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.who.int/
3. Bjelland, E. K., Hofvind, S., Byberg, L., & Eskild, A. (2018). The relation of age at menarche with age at Natural Menopause: A population study of 336,788 women in Norway. Human Reproduction, 33(6), 1149–1157. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dey078
About Kristina L. Petrocco-Napuli, DC, MS, FICC
Dr. Petrocco-Napuli is the President of the ACA Council on Women's Health. Recently, in recognition of her service to the profession, she was elected a Fellow in the International College of Chiropractors. Women’s health, especially related to natural healthcare plans, has been Dr. Petrocco-Napuli's focus for more than two decades. She has been actively involved in research related to pelvic pain in females and has authored both clinical and educational articles on this topic. Her practice and research centers on chronic pain in the female population, lower extremity amputees and gait, and integrative collaborative practices.
Learn more about Dr. Petrocco-Napuli or book her as a speaker.
All opinions expressed by guest writers are their own and do not reflect the opinions of NCMIC.