Patronage of traditional bone setters for musculoskeletal conditions: A one-year study
Background: Traditional medical practice including bonesetting is a very ancient art. Patronage of traditional bone setters (TBS) is high in Nigeria.
Aim: To document the reasons for patronage of traditional bone setters in a private ortho-trauma centre.
Methods: A prospective study of consecutive patients with musculoskeletal conditions who had received treatment from traditional bone setters and were seen and managed afterwards at Rehoboth Specialist Hospital from 1st January 2007 to 31st December 2007.
Results: In the study period , 84 patients were seen, 45 males and 39 females with a male to female ratio of 1.2:1. Their ages ranged from 2 years 4 months to 85 years with an average of 32.8 years. Those with secondary and tertiary levels of education constituted over 75%. The most frequent diagnosis/pathology was fractures (70.2%) followed by dislocations (14.3%). More patients (61.9%) consulted the traditional bone setter than orthodox practice (36.9%) as point of first consult after pathology. The duration of TBS treatment before presentation in 65% was 4 months or more. The most frequent reason for choice of TBS treatment was pressure by friends and relatives (58.3%) followed by TBS being better than orthodox (13.1%), cost considerations (10.7%), proximity (9.5%), cultural belief (3.6%), and fear of surgery (3.6%) amongst others.
Conclusion: Patronage of traditional bone setters for musculoskeletal conditions is high and the level of educational attainment does not affect this.
Keywords: Traditional bone setters, Musculoskeletal conditions, Patronage