The popularity of the concept of patient-career rose at the same time as more people were using chiropractic care in the United States. Yet, patient-career has yet to be applied in a sociological manner to those who seek out chiropractic care. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 19 patients of chiropractic care reveal that pain, to the point of interference with daily-life, is what drove them to seek out help outside traditional medicine. This research investigates how holding preconceived notions of chiropractic care (positive or negative), the influence of social networks, and beliefs surrounding health and pain influence the direction of the individual careers in chiropractic care. Several key findings emerged throughout the interview process such as understanding the impact of pain on daily-life, the validation of this pain from a caregiver, the importance of connections and shared understandings in healthcare, and the paradox of a chiropractic adjustment as a blend of science, religion, and magic.


Sarah Epplen

Committee Member

Dennis Waskul

Committee Member

Michelle McAlarnen

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences


Rights Statement

In Copyright