The main purpose of Chiropractic practice is to treat musculoskeletal pain conditions through bodily adjustments, particularly of the spine. Chiropractic was founded by Daniel David Palmer in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was self-taught and coined the term “innate intelligence” which refers to his belief in the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Palmer called spinal misalignments “subluxations” and argued that they lead to various ailments, and that spinal adjustment could help restore health.
For much of their history, Chiropractors faced virulent political opposition from the American Medical Association (AMA). Following an extensive, decades-long political battle, Chiropractors are currently licensed in all fifty states. Given the relatively spotty licensing statuses of various other CAM modalities in the United States (many of which have been engaged in political struggles of similar duration), this is quite an accomplishment.
Modern Chiropractors combine hands-on, manual therapies with the following: heat and ice; electrical stimulation; relaxation techniques; rehabilitative and general exercise; counseling about diet, weight loss, lifestyle, and dietary supplements. The current state of scientific research shows Chiropractic in a fairly favorable light when it comes to musculoskeletal pain conditions. Additionally, when practiced by a licensed and certified Chiropractor, incidence of adverse events are low.
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) is responsible for accrediting Chiropractic colleges that confer Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degrees. These colleges offer four year degree programs to be undertaken following a minimum of 90 semester credit hours of undergraduate study, and include both classroom instruction and practical training with patients. Chiropractic is often covered by insurance; consult your individual plan to see if you’re covered.
Make sure to ask about your Chiropractor’s education and licensure. Also remember to divulge all medical conditions to your Chiropractor and to consult your primary care provider prior to seeking Chiropractic care.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
2. Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Fourth Edition by Marc S. Micozzi for more detailed information. Published by Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri 2011.
3. Integrative Medicine Second Edition by David Rakel for more detailed information on usage for specific conditions. Copyright 2007, 2003 by Elsevier Inc. Published by Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA 2007.
4. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America by James C. Whorton. Published by Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2002.