Course Title: Clinical Chiropractic 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Clinical Chiropractic 1

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015

Course Coordinator: Dr Rick Ames

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7394

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 210.5.11

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

To successfully complete this course, students should have the ability to:

  • know and understand basic and clinical science principles underlying health care;
  • apply their knowledge of diagnostic procedures;
  • apply their knowledge of specified therapeutic procedures;
  • develop a knowledge and understanding of basic health strategies required to produce positive health outcomes;
  • build on a basis for understanding the scientific literature in manual medicine and related fields and demonstrate the ability to put this understanding to effective use;
  • be information literate; locating, evaluating, managing and using a range of information;
  • adopt appropriate behaviours including socially and ethnically sensitive communications skills and empathy;
  • engage personally with a body of knowledge by ongoing learning, reflection and analysis;
  • work independently or as part of a team;
  • demonstrate consistent ethical professional behaviour; and 
  • understand the principles involved in due duty of care to patients.

Students are required to have successfully completed the program Bachelor of Applied Science (Complementary Medicine) – Chiropractic Stream or an equivalent program.

Course Description

This course correlates material and techniques taught in the Bachelor of Applied Science (Complementary Medicine) –Chiropractic Stream program and introduces the student to new knowledge of patient presentations and conditions commonly encountered in professional chiropractic practice. Topic areas include clinical spinal syndromes; spinal techniques including the development of advanced adjusting techniques; critical thinking skills in clinical diagnosis and management; development of specialized diagnosis and management approaches utilized in chiropractic practice; and the use of clinical outcome measurement instruments in clinical chiropractic practice. Activities associated with the research and scholarship portfolio (RaSP) - including the 1st hurdle requirements are associated with this course.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the morphology of the regions covered in this course to practice chiropractic safely, including knowledge of the biomechanics, physiology and pathophysiology of the relevant regions sufficient to interpret findings gained from patient assessment;
  • demonstrate knowledge of relevant pathology at a level adequate to the practice of chiropractic to ensure that absolute and relative contraindications are understood and observed; 
  • demonstrate knowledge and skill in the application of humanistic factors in patient management by implementing psychological, socio-cultural and philosophical approaches relevant to the management of each case;
  • demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct a basic, adequate assessment of the regions covered in this course prior to implementing a treatment plan based on the modalities of care covered in this course;
  • demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out each of the procedures of therapeutic care covered in this course in a safe, competent and effective manner within the limitations of the scope of this course;
  • demonstrate the ability to develop a patient management plan for patient care; knowledge of the characteristics of each health problem studied and of the principles of disease prevention and health promotion; skills in the use of evidence-based, clinical decision making in the practice of chiropractic; the application of appropriate assessment and therapeutic techniques; and evidence of applying the attitudes befitting a chiropractic practitioner;
  • demonstrate knowledge of actions required in response to patient care including improvement, no change and deterioration of symptoms;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the types of clinical outcome measurement instruments and how they have affected the on-going care of the patient, including skills in the use of clinical outcome measurement instruments with patients in clinical practice and an ability to understand, interpret and apply the data.

Within the context of evidence-based care and the legal scope of practice students will gain or improve capabilities for patient-centred care in:

  • knowledge in the basic and clinical sciences;
  • skills in clinical assessment (including chiropractic-specific skills);
  • skills in diagnostic decision-making;
  • skills in clinical management (including chiropractic-specific skills);
  • skills in the steps of problem-solving (identification of a problem, gathering/analyzing/synthesizing information, implementation of a solution, and assessment of its effectiveness) at the levels of the patient, practitioner, profession, and society;
  • their ability to demonstrate the duty of care required of a primary contact health care practitioner, including ethical practice management; and
  • their ability to deliver health care in a culturally diverse society, with an awareness of the intricacies involved.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

  • attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • attendance at tutorials to give to give further practice in the application of clinical assessment and management through discussion and case analysis of a range of representative case scenarios and real cases, and to illustrate important concepts;
  • attendance at practical classes designed to give further practice in the application of clinical assessment and management skills and chiropractic technique, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
  • attendance at small group tutorial sessions for completion of tasks associated with Research and Scholarship portfolio; and
  • completion of written assignments consisting of clinical and chiropractic technique based problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT Studies and will be provided with copies of additional materials in class. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided. Students will also use laboratory equipment and computer software within the School during assignment work.

Some of the important prescribed texts for this course are:

  • Gatterman M. Foundations of chiropractic subluxation2nd ed. St Louis: Elsevier Mosby, 2005.
  • Souza TA. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor Protocols and Alogorithms. 3rd edition Boston:Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005.
  • Haldeman S. Principles and practice of chiropractic. 3rd edition Norwalk, Connecticut: McGraw-Hill, Medical Publishers, 2005. 
  • Plaugher G. Ed. Textbook of clinical chiropractic. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1993.
  • Peterson DH and Bergmann TF. Chiropractic technique 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2002.

Some of the recommended text books for this course are:

  • Gatterman M. Chiropractic management of spine-related disorders. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1993. 
  • Kirkaldy-Willis WH, Bernard TN (eds). Managing low back pain. 4th edition New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1999.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment for this course comprises written and practical assessments. Written assessment includes an examination, group assignments, a small group presentation and case reports and a clinical outcome clinical practice assignment.

Written assignments and the presentation will be used to provide feedback to students on their progress in the course during the semester.