New figures from the regional government organisation Danske Regioner reveal that 370,148 Danes sought the services of a chiropractor last year, which is a 21 percent increase compared to 2005, when 305,250 patients used the alternative treatment.
Jan Hartvigsen, a professor and research director in clinical biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, believes chiropractic treatment has generally become more acceptable, especially when people suffer from back pain.
“Previously, people with pain were more likely to resign, but today they will not accept living with pain if they can do something about it,” Hartvigsen told Politiken.
“There is a general tendency to seek more treatment than before, and this also applies to chiropractors.”
Reducing back pain
Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who provide diagnosis and treatment for neuromuscular disorders through the manual adjustment of the spine.
In Denmark, they are licensed by the national health authority, Sundhedsstyrelsen, and are an integral part of the Danish healthcare system.
The popularity of chiropractic treatment has started to grow in Denmark since 1994, when the first education programs opened and more research on the effects of the practice was carried out.
In 2016, the average patient visited a chiropractor 5.7 times, which corresponds to a total of 2.1 million treatments over a whole year.
According to Christian Ankerstjerne, the communications manager at the Danish Chiropractic Association, there are currently about 260 registered chiropractic clinics across the country.
Public health insurance covers about 20 percent of each chiropractic treatment, and there is no need for a referral from a GP.
Nevertheless, many remain sceptical about chiropractors, and the death of glamour model Katie May in Britain last year did little to dispel the belief they are a health risk.
In May’s case, a visit to a chiropractor left her with a torn artery in her neck that caused the stroke that killed her, even though experts later described it as a one in a million injury.