Written by: Dr. Christopher Kent

Patients today expect their doctors to be up to date and knowledgeable. The purpose of this article is to provide you with resources to easily access scholarly literature relevant to chiropractic practice. Scholarly responsibility is one characteristic of a profession. As Boone noted, “Professions are based on scientific and philosophical facts acquired through scholarly endeavour. Individuals who enter a profession do so for reasons that distinguish them from other work or vocations. They understand that their work renders a unique public service with a scientific or philosophical basis and/or body of knowledge that requires an extended period of academic and hands-on preparation. Professions are also based on specialized skills necessary for the professional to perform the public service.” (1)

Let’s begin with databases. Databases allow users to search the included literature using a variety of criteria, such as journal, author, topic, title words, etc. Databases often include online abstracts (summaries) which may be viewed free of charge. If you need a full text copy, you have several options:

  1. Pay a “per view” fee for online access. This can get pricey, but is fast and convenient. I recently paid $40 for online access to a 3 page article.
  2. Contact a chiropractic college library. They may provide a document delivery service. This may be your only option if the article you are seeking is from a journal that has ceased publication or has limited distribution.
  3. Some full text copies are available free online. If this is not noted when you retrieve the abstract, try visiting the web site of the author.
  4. Try a document delivery service, such as Documents Delivered.


Human Resources And CrmDatabases

Index to Chiropractic Literature (ICL). If your interest is finding chiropractic sources, this is the place to begin. This free database is a service of the Chiropractic Library Consortium. This excellent resource includes current and past peer-reviewed chiropractic journals, and non-peer-reviewed newspapers and magazines. It does not include many non-chiropractic sources, and complements PubMed®.

Point your browser to: http://www.chiroindex.org

Index Medicus®, MEDLINE®, and PubMed®. The granddaddy of the indexes. The printed Index Medicus was published for 125 years, until it was supplanted by the online service, MEDLINE® . (2)  Checking today, there were 5,642 journal indexed in Index Medicus. (3) MEDLINE® may be accessed free of charge through PubMed®. PubMed® allows the user to search over 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE®, life science journals, and online books. (4).

To get started, just go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed. There is a quick-start guide and tutorials available on the site. Alternatively, you can just start playing with it. Entering the word “chiropractic” produced 6,229 results. Since many peer-reviewed chiropractic journals, past and present, are not included in PubMed®, don’t depend on it to find chiropractic publications. Many are not included.

MANTIS. MANTIS (Manual, Alternative, and Natural Therapy Index System) addresses “alternative medicine literature,” including chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, and manual medicine, and includes over 400,000 records from over 1,000 journals. You can access the MANTIS database through ChiroAccess.

Visit http://www.chiroaccess.com to register.

CINAHL® (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is a paid subscription service available to educational institutions, hospitals, medical institutions, corporations, and libraries. CINAHL® searches may be available through a medical or chiropractic college library.

Here is their web address: http://www.ebscohost.com/cinahl

Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED) is a subscription service which includes journals not indexed in other databases. http://www.ebscohost.com/academic/AMED-The-Allied-and-Complementary-Medicine-Database

Google™ Scholar provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. http://scholar.google.com and search tips are at http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/refinesearch.html

Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists committed to making scientific and medical literature freely accessible. http://www.plos.org/


Other Resources

Chiropractic Resource Organization is a free information site for chiropractors. To see what is available, visit: http://chiro.org/about-us/

ICPA (International Chiropractic Association) has a compilation of references online. Although not a searchable database, articles cited are arranged alphabetically by condition. Go to: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research

Philosophy of Chiropractic is a resource for the history and philosophy of chiropractic. It’s a treasure trove of hard to find information, including books, photos, papers, etc. http://philosophyofchiropractic.com/

 Attractive woman doctor

Chiropractic Journals

If you are seeking a specific journal article, or wish to search a specific journal, you can go directly to that web site. Abstracts are usually available at no charge. Here is a selection of peer-reviewed chiropractic journal web sites. For an up-to-date, comprehensive list, you may wish to visit ICL, as described above. The journals are listed alphabetically.


Other Journals of Interest


Journals No Longer Being Published

Some chiropractic journals have ceased publication. Unfortunately, there is no online archive of articles from journals no longer being published. If you are seeking a specific article from such a journal, contact a chiropractic college library.

  • Advances in Chiropractic
  • American Journal of Chiropractic Medicine
  • Annals of the Swiss Chiropractors’ Association
  • British Journal of Chiropractic
  • Chiropractic Journal of Australia
  • Chiropractic Pediatrics
  • Chiropractic Research Journal
  • Chiropractic Sports Medicine
  • Chiropractic Technique
  • Chiropractic : the Journal of Chiropractic Research, Study and Clinical Investigation
  • Clinical Chiropractic
  • European Journal of Chiropractic
  • International Review of Chiropractic
  • Journal of Chiropractic Research (Research Forum)
  • Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System (JNMS)
  • Journal of Sports Chiropractic and Rehabilitation
  • Palmer Journal of Research
  • Philosophical Constructs for the Chiropractic Profession
  • Topics in Clinical Chiropractic
  • Topics in Diagnostic Radiology and Advanced Imaging

Enhancing cultural authority and building credibility are great reasons for learning to search the literature. But the best reason is to provide the finest possible care for your patients.


  1. Profession. Analytic Quality Glossary. http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/profession.htm
  2. 2. Index Medicus to Cease as Print Publication. NLM Tech Bull. 2004 May-Jun;(338):e2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/mj04/mj04_im.html
  3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/num_titles.html
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed


Chris Kent DCChristopher Kent is a chiropractor and an attorney. He is the owner of On Purpose, LLC, and president of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation. A 1973 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, he is a Diplomate and Fellow of the ICA College of Chiropractic Imaging. Dr. Kent is known within the chiropractic profession for his dedication to integrating the science, art, and philosophy of chiropractic for doctors and students of chiropractic. He was awarded Life University’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Dr. Kent is former chair of the United Nations NGO Health Committee, the first chiropractor elected to that office.

To learn more about the On Purpose program and what it can do for you, visit http://www.chiroonpurpose.com. For information concerning the online Advanced Subluxation Training course, visit http://www.claast.com.