Chiropractic Dominates The Spine Journal Downloads in 2011

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

The Spine Journal recently announced its "Top 25 Hottest Articles" for 2011. These are the most downloaded articles for the year. The 2011 list is surprising in that 13 of the 25 articles have at least one author who is a doctor of chiropractic.1 In addition, 10 of the 25 papers include content relating to spinal manipulation, cervical manipulation or chiropractic; six of those include the terms in their title. Papers that discussed these topics were found to be very popular, ranking first, third, fourth, sixth, 10th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 23rd and 24th.

The top-ranked paper for 2011 is "Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation and Mobilization for Low Back Pain and Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis." Authors include Gert Bronfort, PhD, DC, Mitchell Haas, DC, MA, and Roni L. Evans, DC, MS, representing Northwestern Health Sciences University and the University of Western States. (This was not their only paper in the top six.)

Simon Dagenais, DC, PhD, currently working with Palladian Health in West Seneca, N.Y., led a total of 17 doctors of chiropractic who authored most of the Top 25 Hottest Articles. Here is the list of the chiropractic authors, along with the number of papers they authored in The Spine Journal and where the papers placed on the Top 25 list:

  • Paul B. Bishop, DC, MD, PhD – one paper placing 15th
  • Gert Bronfort, PhD, DC – three papers placing first, fourth and sixth, respectively
  • Simon Dagenais, DC, PhD – six papers placing third, sixth, eighth, 17th, 21st and 24th, respectively
  • Roni L. Evans, DC, MS – three papers placing first, fourth and sixth, respectively
  • Michael D. Freeman, PhD, MPH, DC – one paper placing 24th
  • Ralph E. Gay, DC, MD – one paper placing 24th
  • Mitchell Haas, DC – three papers placing first, sixth and 14th, respectively
  • Scott Haldeman, DC, MD, PhD – three papers placing third, eighth and 17th , respectively
  • Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD – two papers placing seventh and 20th, respectively
  • Greg Kawchuk, DC, PhD – one paper placing sixth
  • Michele J. Maiers, DC, MPH – one paper placing fourth
  • John Mayer, DC, PhD – two papers placing 2st & 24th, respectively
  • Edward F. Owens Jr., MS, DC – one paper placing fourth
  • David Peterson, DC – one paper placing 14th
  • Joel G Pickar, DC, PhD – one paper placing 10th
  • Jeffrey A. Quon, DC, PhD, FCCSC – one paper placing 15th
  • Craig A. Schulz, DC, MS – one paper placing fourth

The majority of papers investigate conservative care versus surgery. Two of the papers that examined "catastrophic complications" and "adverse reactions" in surgical procedures included Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, as one of the authors. If the Spine Journal's 2011 list of the most downloaded papers is any indication, the focus in spine care has clearly moved away from surgery toward more conservative care. This refocus is not only reflected in the research community, but also in the minds of the health care-consuming public and the business community paying the bills.

This trend toward conservative care is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The cost of surgery, surgical failure rates and the subsequent additional costs continue at unacceptable levels. It has apparently taken an economic crisis to wake people up to the nightmare that is the surgical model.

This is an excellent opportunity to educate patients and their families, friends and co-workers about chiropractic. If nothing else, read the abstracts of The Spine Journal's 25 Hottest Articles and share the information with them. As we all know, an educated patient can be an effective source of referrals.


  1. Top 25 Hottest Articles, The Spine Journal, January to December 2011.

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