Chiropractic has actually been around since ancient times. It wasn’t always called chiropractic. It was actually known as “bone setting.” There has been documentation of “bone setters” in China, India, Greece, and Rome. History of bone setting goes back as far as 4000 B.C. In fact spinal alignment was so important that the Greek philosopher Hippocrates even wrote “look well to the spine for the origins of disease.”
The re-discovery of “Bone Setting” as Chiropractic
In 1895, there was a health practitioner by the name of D.D. Palmer. His profession was a field of health care known at the time as Magnetic Healing. The janitor of D.D. Palmer’s building, by the name of Harvey Lillard had been complaining of hearing loss. D.D. Palmer had tried Magnetic healing but it had no effect on Harvey Lillard’s affliction. D.D. Palmer writes that upon feeling Mr. Lillard’s spine, it seemed as some bones were out of place. D.D. administered the first chiropractic adjustment and Mr. Lillards hearing was restored. This was the birth of what we call chiropractic. In fact D.D. Palmer is considered the discoverer of Chiropractic. He went on to teach others this profession and founded the first chiropractic school, Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport IA. As practitioners graduated other schools followed. It was D.D. Palmer who decided to use the term chiropractic. In Greek, chiropractic
One thing to keep in mind the most common medical treatment of the day was hot stones, bloodletting, leaching and cupping.
The school further evolved when D.D.’s son, B.J. Palmer took it over. He put extensive resources into research. The goal was to understand what exactly chiropractic did, how it worked and why it worked. As the profession continued to evolve more pioneers came along developing new chiropractic techniques, diagnostic equipment and treatment equipment. B.J. Palmer is known as the developer of chiropractic. He had medical staff on site to monitor the short and long term effects of chiropractic care. These studies were cutting edge for the day but now considered invalid as they did not follow current scientific standards (but again they were cutting edge for their day).
It was at this time that medicine sought to eliminate chiropractic. They jailed many a chiropractor for “practicing medicine without a license”. In fact at one time, California had a law called the “1:1:1 Law”. In any one county, one chiropractor had to be in jail at any one point in time. What was the charge? It was practicing medicine without a license. When I was in chiropractic school, I saw black and white footage of a jailed chiropractor. The prison guard opens the cell, lays on the floor, and the chiropractor treated the jailor. Then the guard gets up, leaves the cell and locks the door. The chiropractic stance has always been and always will be that chiropractic is “separate and distinct” from medicine.
In recent years, there has been a huge push for research in the chiropractic profession show that chiropractic care can to a whole lot more than just treat pain. It is only now that chiropractic is accepted by most mainstream practitioners of medicine. In fact, the VA now refers most of its spinal surgery candidates to chiropractic before surgery. They state they have a 50% reduction in the need for spinal surgery.
Chiropractic is a relatively young profession. As a result, cutting edge scientific research has really only started since the 1990’s. Since that time some amazing research has been uncovered showing chiropractic is not just for pain. In fact every chiropractic school in America is required to perform a minimum amount of research annually.
Challenges still exist however. There are still branches of modern medicine out to destroy chiropractic as a profession. There are a number of tactics. Some include preapproval requirements from insurance companies, while others include trying to pass laws that allow chiropractors to prescribe drugs, perform minor surgeries and administer injections. If that happened, chiropractic would go the way of osteopathy, existing in name only. Others tactics include health care laws increasing paperwork and constantly changing procedures. These changes are easily absorbed by major corporations (which is what modern medicine consists of). Small businesses, such as most chiropractic offices, have difficulty maintaining the resources to keep up with these rapid changes.