The history of the profession of chiropractic is unique, interesting and colorful. This article will discuss events leading up to the advent of the modern chiropractic profession, and the discovery and advancement of chiropractic.
Physical manipulation of the spine, extremity joints and soft tissues is a healing therapy that has been known to exist for millennia. Hippocrates (460-385BCE), the ancient Greek who is considered to be the father of medicine, said: “look to the spine for disease” and practiced spinal manipulation. Galen (131-202 CE), a Roman surgeon, also provided evidence of manipulation of the spine. Spinal manipulation has been practiced in the early Middle East, Far East, India, Central America and Europe.
In the low countries of northern Europe manipulation was performed by laypeople who were called bone setters. These were not trained physicians but, were people skilled in manipulative techniques that were passed along by family members, neighbors or craftsman. As these people migrated to the United States they brought their skills with them. Many of them settled in the Midwestern states of Iowa and Nebraska.
In the late 1800s a man named Daniel David Palmer, who lived in Davenport Iowa, is credited with performing what is considered to be the first modern chiropractic treatment. He performed a treatment on the spine of a patient and the patient’s poor hearing was helped. Rather than using the term manipulation, he called his method a “chiropractic adjustment.” From that beginning Dr. Palmer began to practice chiropractic by administering chiropractic adjustments to correct spinal vertebrae that were out of alignment, causing pinched nerves. His practice grew phenomenally as he was able to help many people’s ailments without the use of drugs and surgery.
Dr. Palmer became concerned that if he did not pass his knowledge on, his skills would be lost upon his passing. Therefore, he created The Palmer School of Chiropractic where he began training others to become doctors of chiropractic. These chiropractors went out to the rest of the country to start practices and some of them formed other chiropractic colleges.
Dr. David Daniel Palmer’s son, Bartlett James (BJ), also became a chiropractor and continued to build and expand his father’s school which became known as The Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dr. BJ Palmer was an interesting person in that he started other businesses. One was a powerful radio station in Davenport Iowa that is said to have given former president Ronald Reagan his first job in the entertainment business.
The chiropractic profession proliferated in the United States and throughout the world. More chiropractic educational institutions have developed. Chiropractors have presented scientific articles that have been accepted by prestigious research journals. In the US every state issues licenses and regulates the chiropractic profession.
Chiropractic care for spinal back and neck pain relief is considered the gold standard of treatment. Chiropractic care has been shown to be safe, gentle and effective in providing millions of people spinal pain relief.