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How Chiropractic Care Came To Be

Chiropractic care is both an ancient and modern health treatment. While chiropractic care as we know it is only a little over 100 years old, its roots can be traced all the way back to the start of recorded history. Both the Greek and Chinese practiced spinal manipulations thousands of years ago as a way to ease lower back pain. Hippocrates, the Greek physician was aware of the importance of spine health more than 2,000 years ago stating in his writings, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite of many diseases.” 

The Beginning of Modern Chiropractic Care 

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that chiropractic care as we know it came to be, when in 1895 a man named Daniel David Palmer performed one of the first modern spinal adjustments. After talking with a janitor named Harvey Lillard who had been suffering from hearing loss after an injury, he performed a spinal adjustment that resulted in Mr. Lillard regaining his ability to hear. Two years later, in 1897, D.D. Palmer opened the first chiropractic school, the Palmer School of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa. This school is still open today and is considered to be one of the most prominent chiropractic colleges in the United States. 

The 20th Century 

Throughout the 1900s, chiropractic care gained legal recognition in all 50 states. Although it has at times battled with “traditional” medical fields, chiropractic care has grown to be accepted as one of the leaders in the field of non-invasive health care for a variety of ailments. Chiropractic care is covered in many insurance plans and is part of the standard VA package for veterans. 

Education of Chiropractors 

Your chiropractor is a doctor who completed many years of college. In addition to four years of undergraduate work, a Doctor of Chiropractic must complete an additional four to five years of education at an accredited chiropractic college. This includes more than 4,000 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. After meeting all this criteria, a potential chiropractor must then pass a national board exam and any other exams required by the state in which they wish to practice. 

The Philosophy of Chiropractic Care 

The chiropractic profession, while differing in some aspects, all shares a core belief that the best health care is natural and conservative. Chiropractors have a deep and abiding faith in the human body’s ability to heal itself without medication or surgery. 

As you can see, this ancient art with a modern twist has a fascinating history. As we learn more about the human body there’s every reason to believe that its future will be just as exciting.


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Photo credit: Chiropractic by Ann Arbor District Library. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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