Oddly enough it was Hippocrates, widely regarded as the Father of (Western) Medicine who said, “First and foremost, look to the spine for the cause of disease”. It seems that Hippocrates used to manipulate the joints of the spine while tractioning the spine to correct low back and leg pain. Does that make the Father of Medicine the Father of Chiropractic?

Actually, manipulation of joints and soft tissue has a rich history in cultures around the world. From “Lomi Lomi” in Polynesia to “Tui Na” practitioners in China to “Bonesetters” in medieval England, manipulation of joints and soft tissue seems to have existed everywhere people experienced musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.

Modern Chiropractic

bjPalmerOn September 18, 1895, in Davenport Iowa, a healer named Daniel David Palmer noticed an irregularity in the alignment of the upper thoracic spine while examining a partially deaf janitor named Harvey Lillard. To correct that misalignment, D.D. Palmer performed a rapid forceful thrust on the vertebra, resulting in a popping sound. To their mutual surprise, Harvey Lillard reported that he could, “hear the wagons on the street.” This so astonished DD Palmer that he devoted the rest of his life to develop and promote of this healing art he named chiropractic. Three years later he opened the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport. In 1910, he wrote The Chiropractic Adjuster: A Textbook of the Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic for Students and Practitioners.

Present status

With over 60,000 practicing in the United States, doctors of chiropractic make up the second largest primary care profession after allopathic medical doctors. Chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and U.S. protectorates, and in over 30 other countries around the world. Because of their education and licensing status, chiropractors are referred to as doctors of chiropractic and use the initials “D.C.”

Of all the complementary and alternative practices, chiropractic is the best established in this country. It is used by approximately 7% of the general population and is included in most insurance reimbursement.