The history of the chiropractor dates back as far as 450 BC. In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates discussed spinal manipulation and its potential benefits. Hippocrates believed that a misaligned spine contributed to the health of an individual.
One day in 1878, while working in a stooped, cramped position, Harvey Lillard felt something “pop” in his neck. A few days later, he was almost completely deaf. Seventeen years passed in virtual silence. Then, on September 18, 1895, Lillard told the story to Daniel David Palmer, a magnetic healer who practiced in the Davenport, Iowa building where Lillard worked as a janitor.
Palmer examined the deaf man’s spine and discovered a big bump in the area where Lillard had said he felt the “pop.” Reasoning that this bump was the result of one of the spine’s vertebrae moving out of line with the others, Palmer persuaded Lillard to let him try to restore it to the normal position. He had the janitor lie down on his stomach, and applied force to the bump. There was another “pop” and the bump was gone. In a few days, Lillard was able to hear once again.
Chiropractic was born. Palmer’s interest was finding the cause and effect of sickness. He studied to discover what causes sickness and what effects sickness has on the human body. He began checking other patients for evidence of misaligned vertebrae and adjusting them. He quickly discovered that many of their ailments were alleviated, and even eliminated altogether, after his efforts to reposition the bones.
From these observations, and from his own study and knowledge of health, Palmer concluded that good health is the normal, natural state of the body. He also reasoned that the body’s own natural ability to fully express its good health was reduced by the interference to the passage of mental impulses to and from the brain; impulses that carried vital information regarding the proper functioning of the body and which were transmitted via the spinal cord.
If misaligned vertebrae could be returned to their normal positions, Palmer theorized, the free flow of information within the body could resume. Thus, the body’s former ability to maintain itself in a state of natural good health would be restored.
Early chiropractic philosophy was based on several important precepts that are still practiced today. The body has an innate intelligence which continually strives to maintain the highest level of health. Chiropractic is a natural, non-invasive, and drugless way to remove a major form of interference to health. The objective of chiropractic practice should be location, analysis, and correction of vertebral subluxations.
Early chiropractic bore similarities to osteopathy and was criticized as practicing medicine without a license. Practicing medicine without a license led to many chiropractors, including D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer, being jailed.
During the 1960s medical doctors were so skeptical of chiropractic the American Medical Association condemned it as an unscientific cult. Until 1983 the AMA made it unethical for M.D.’s to refer patients to chiropractors. A twelve year legal battle ensued, which the AMA lost on September 25, 1987. The AMA had violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and it had engaged in unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade “to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession.” The decision was upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990 and again by the U.S. Court of Appeals later that same year, the AMA was guilty of conspiracy.
Since Dr. Palmer’s first primitive chiropractic adjustment, the art and science of chiropractic has progressed significantly. Over the last 20 years chiropractic has gained general acceptance as the appropriate treatment for back and neck problems. Today chiropractic is better viewed by the medical community as being a legitimate health care provider. Acceptance among other health care professionals resulted from advanced diagnostic procedures, scientific research, and sophisticated equipment. Chiropractic ranks first in alternative health care and ranks second behind medicine as the largest health provider.
Doctors of chiropractic have become pioneers in the field of non-invasive care promoting science-based approaches to a variety of ailments. A continuing dedication to chiropractic research could lead to even more discoveries in preventing and combating disease. A patient does not have to be referred. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health care professionals in every state in USA.
Few other health care interventions have been assessed as extensively as chiropractic adjustments, both in terms of safety and effectiveness. There have been at least six formal government inquiries into chiropractic worldwide over the last 25 years and all have concluded that contemporary chiropractic care is safe, effective, cost-effective and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services. In addition, there have been countless scientific clinical studies assessing the appropriateness, effectiveness, and/or cost-effectiveness of spinal adjustments, for musculoskeletal pain.
The educational requirement to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree is a minimum of eight years of study. That includes a four year undergraduate degree with two years of pre-professional studies. The studies include chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pediatrics, dermatology and genetics. Before being able to graduate, a one year clinical internship must be completed. After graduation, four national and state examinations (in the state they plan to practice in) must be passed before their license is obtained.
Chiropractic is a philosophy, science, and art of things natural; a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column by hand for the correction of the cause of disease. Over the past 115 years, through the brilliant work of many chiropractors, over 40 recognized chiropractic techniques have been developed. All of which assess the spine for nerve interference and reduces it without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic has survived and thrived because these techniques work to restore and improve health.