Sun streaming behind First Adjustment Statue of D.D. Palmer.

Gallup-Palmer College Annual Report

Americans’ Perceptions of Chiropractic Care

Palmer College commissioned Gallup to conduct perception research from 2015 to 2018. This research, distilled into a four-part series of reports, outlines Americans’ perceptions of chiropractic care.

In 2020, Palmer College published “The Case for Chiropractic: How Chiropractic Care Benefits Patients and Insurers.”

Key Gallup-Palmer College Findings

2015: Americans’ Perceptions of Chiropractic

  • Two-thirds (61%) of adult Americans believe chiropractors are effective at treating neck and back pain.
  • The majority (57%) of adults are likely to see a chiropractor for neck or back pain.
  • More than 1/2 of all U.S. adults have visited a chiropractor, and more than 1/4 of them would choose chiropractic care first for back or neck pain.
  • Nearly 1/2 of all U.S. adults don’t know if their insurance covers chiropractic care.

Read the article in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.


2016: Chiropractic is Safe, Effective, Affordable Care

95% of past-year chiropractic users say it's effective.

  • Nearly 62 million U.S. adults (25%) went to a chiropractor in the last five years. More than half (35.5 million) said they went in the last 12 months—up slightly from the 33.6 million in last year’s survey.
  • Three in four of those who saw a chiropractor in the last year (75%) described chiropractic care as “very effective.”
  • 88% of recent chiropractic patients agreed the quality of care they received was a good value for the money they paid.


2017: Americans Prefer Drug-Free Pain Management Over Opioids

78% of people prefer drug-free pain management over opioids

  • 78% prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor.
  • 27% of U.S. adults have seen a health-care professional for significant neck or back pain in the last 12 months. Of those adults, more than half (54%) have had an ongoing problem with neck or back pain for five years or more.
  • Education about chiropractic care increases the likelihood people will go to a chiropractor, especially for Black patients and younger adults.


2018: Managing Neck and Back Pain in America

Chiropractor with a mom and her three children.

  • 67% of Americans suffering from neck or back pain want to see a professional who treats neck or back pain using a variety of methods including prescription medication or surgery. Still, 79% of U.S. adults would prefer to try to address their neck or back pain using methods other than prescription medication or surgery first.
  • Roughly nine out of 10 adults who saw a chiropractor most often for significant neck or back pain in the last 12 months say their chiropractor often listens (93%), provides convenient, quick access to care (93%), demonstrates care/compassion (91%) and explains things well (88%). Similar percentages exist for physical therapists.
  • Adults who saw a medical doctor most often for neck or back pain are less likely to say their health care provider did these things – although majorities still do. Seventy-two percent say their medical doctor listens, 67% say their medical doctor explains things well, and 66% say they demonstrate care/compassion.


2020: The Case for Chiropractic: How Chiropractic Care Benefits Patients and Insurers

  • Low-back pain is the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide and the top reason opioids are prescribed.
  • UnitedHealthCare projects significant cost-savings for patients when they incorporate chiropractic care for back pain. Patients receiving 75% of care from a chiropractor result in a 23% reduction in cost savings; patients receiving 90% of care from a chiropractor result in a 52% reduction in cost.
  • Incorporating chiropractic care is forecasted to result in a 22% decrease in the number of spinal imaging tests; 21% decrease in spinal surgeries and 19% decrease in opioid usage.
  • Medicare patients drastically reduce annual costs with chiropractic care. Two million insurance subscribers report total annual health care costs to be 30-50% less with chiropractic care than with medical doctor-only care for back pain.

Patient Education Materials

Please feel free to download and use these illustrations. However, no changes may be made without the express written permission of Palmer College of Chiropractic and Gallup.

Poster with five questions about chiropractic.

Poster that says chiropractic is your first line of defense