Axial Spondyloarthritis in the Chiropractic Care Setting: A Systematic Literature Review

Atul Deodhar, Sonam Kiwalkar, Teja Mehendale, Shireesh Bhalerao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), an immune-mediated inflammatory disease, is commonly associated with chronic inflammatory back pain (IBP) and often occurs years after initial onset of clinical symptoms. Recognition of IBP is important for timely referral of patients with suspected axSpA to a rheumatologist. Patients with all types of back pain are treated in chiropractic care, but the proportion of patients with undiagnosed axSpA is unknown. This systematic literature review investigated the presence of axSpA in patients treated by chiropractors and identified the chiropractor's role in axSpA diagnosis, referral, and management. A PubMed search was conducted using the following search strings: "chiropract∗"AND ("sacroiliac"OR "back pain"OR "spondyloarthritis"OR "ankylosing spondylitis"); English language, since 2009; and (chiropractic OR chiropractor) AND (ankylosing spondylitis OR axial spondyloarthritis), with no date limits. Of 652 articles identified in the searches, 27 met the inclusion criteria. Although back pain was identified as a common reason for patients seeking chiropractic care, there was no mention of axSpA, ankylosing spondylitis, or the distinction between mechanical and IBP. Data from relevant articles suggested that the majority of patients seeking chiropractic care have lower back pain, whereas no articles reported axSpA in this patient population. The near absence of any identified articles on axSpA in chiropractic care may be due to underrecognition of axSpA, resulting in delayed rheumatology referral and appropriate management. Better awareness and increased use of validated screening tools could reduce diagnostic delay of axSpA in chiropractic care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E589-E595
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • axial spondyloarthritis
  • chiropractic care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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