Today, most people don’t live too far away from a chiropractor. In fact, tens of thousands of chiropractors practice in all 50 states, helping millions feel their best from day to day. However, most people simply aren’t aware of how the practice came to be. At Southwest Chiropractic, we wanted to change that. In our latest blog, we discuss the tumultuous and fascinating history of chiropractic care!
The History Of Chiropractic Care
The word “chiropractic” comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praktos (done). Although similar practices have been informally done in many civilizations for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, a man by the name of Daniel David Palmer is credited with the creation of this method of physical care. Palmer began his first chiropractic service in 1895, where he provided a crude adjustment to a janitor with back and hearing problems.
The idea of Palmer being the pioneer of chiropractic care would be far from the truth. Evidence suggests that chiropractic care was a common practice as far back as ancient Egypt, making the practice several thousand years old. Indeed, Palmer studied some of this history, especially Greek history. Chiropractic care has been a human phenomenon for millennia but now has become a recognized practice in the 21st century.
Following this adjustment, Palmer went on to continue his practice and eventually found his Palmer School of Cure, now the Palmer College of Chiropractic. After some time, states began to recognize it as a legitimate medical practice and began offering licenses for chiropractors. Today, tens of thousands of chiropractors work to alleviate the pain of millions of people.
Chiropractic had its early roots in spiritualism, naturalism, magnetism, and several other older metaphysical disciplines. In effect, Palmer’s mission was to combine the merits of metaphysics with the rigor of science. Another part of Palmer’s insistence on this new form of care was to curb reliance on medicine that seemed to plague people at the time. He believed that many ailments could be adequately addressed using chiropractic techniques.
Any history of chiropractic care would be incomplete if it assumed that the introduction of this practice was smooth, which it certainly wasn’t. The truth is that chiropractic care as introduced by Palmer and his supporters was far from being accepted from the larger medical community. Specifically, the profession of osteopathy, a branch of medical practice based on the manipulation of bones, joints, and muscles, was in opposition to chiropractic care.
Palmer and his proponents were absolutely eviscerated by the local media, which called them quacks. The attacks were most often levied towards their more metaphysical practices, like using magnetism from hands to heal ailments. It could be argued that these critiques were fair, as Palmer’s early work was unsubstantiated by any conventional understanding.
Another opponent of chiropractic care was the pharmaceutical industry, who obviously didn’t like the idea of treating people sans medicine. Motivated by profit, this industry spared no words for Palmer and those who supported him.
The osteopathic community was incensed by the rise of chiropractic medical care, even going so far as to call it a “bastardized form of osteopathy.” Proponents of osteopathic care went so far as to push for licensing requirements, which actually led to arrests of several people, including Palmer himself!
It would actually take until 1974 for all 50 states to recognize separate licensing. However, the battle for chiropractic legitimacy still would not be over. The American Medical Association called the practice an “unscientific cult” as late as the 70s and 80s until they lost a case against them.
The full assault on chiropractic care may seem unprecedented, but their concerns were actually substantiated for much of its history. The main issue that was presented by critics was a lack of scientific rigor, which could certainly be applied to Palmer and his students. Palmer often did not seek to verify that his techniques had any scientific backing, making chiropractic care wildly variable. His utter disregard for the scientific method placed a huge target on his back and on chiropractic care in general.
By the 90s, though, chiropractic care was given the full ability to develop and work with people in need.
Chiropractic Care In The 21st Century
As we’ve seen, the rise of chiropractic care in the 19th and 20th centuries was far from smooth. There were attacks on all sides, with some being warranted and some not. But how has the chiropractic profession transformed in the 21st century?
Well, you’ll be glad to know that chiropractic care has a much firmer foundation in scientific ideas and evidence. Chiropractors must have a much more rigorous understanding of anatomy and the way that manipulation affects it to be licensed and successful.
Chiropractic care, being recognized as a legitimate practice, has had the time to grow and become refined. Now, millions around the world use chiropractic care for recovery and for feeling their best.
Choose Southwest Chiropractic For Top-Notch Care!
For the best chiropractic care that El Paso has to offer, Southwest Chiropractic is ready to help! Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.
We are a family practice and have been in business for over 19 years. We specialize in the treatment and management of work-related injuries and auto injuries; offering you the latest in quality therapy and care.