The shaky foundations of chiropractic
The origins of chiropractic dates back to the late 19th century. Its’ name is derived from the two Greek words “chiro” (hand) and “praktikos” (practical). Daniel David Palmer was the founder of chiropractic treatments. However, it is believed that most of the chiropractic troubled history is associated with its’ founder. As you will learn today, chiropractic was disputed by modern medicine for most of its life. The crisis originally began when D. D. Palmer claimed that he received the knowledge from the “other world”. Even though the effects of chiropractic were undeniable, this claim alone was enough to hinder its path for the years to come.
The spreading of the practice
During the early years, chiropractic was mainly a family secret; however, around 1898 D. D. Palmer started teaching it to a few students at his newly founded Palmer School of Chiropractic. This was a pivotal moment in the practice, as one of the students in the school was D. D. Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer (B. J. Palmer). B.J. Palmer became incredibly committed to the cause of spreading chiropractic, however with a much more sensible path than his father. He took over the school in 1906 and became the most notable person in chiropractic.
Straights versus Mixers
This disputed started around the same time B. J. Palmer took operations of the school. The initial teaching of chiropractic was extremely against the use of instruments in the practice. B. J. Palmer and his father were part of the “straight chiropractors” and heavily criticized other practitioners who were using instruments in their work. However, B. J. Palmer’s soberness of the situation is the reason we see chiropractic as part of modern alternative medicine today. He realized that in order to establish chiropractic as a valid medicine, he will need to change his course. In 1910, he publicly accepted the use of X-ray machines in chiropractic. Furthermore, he went on to create the first neurocalometer in 1924 which was a temperature-sensing device. As you can probably imagine, this caused a very strong reaction from the camp B. J. Palmer was representing.
By 1924, it is estimated that only 12% (3000) of all chiropractors were straight and 82% (22.000) were mixers.
The decision that could’ve changed everything!
There was a very interesting way to secure the place of the practice in medicine, however, B.J. Palmer and his father both refused this option. If they were to classify chiropractic as a religious science, it would have been protected by the US constitution. While both of them considered it to be a religion, they decided against it to avoid confusion with Christian Science.
The early disputes of chiropractic
Because of the previous statement by the founder, a road was opened for public criticism of the practice. In the beginning, organized medicine was leading the heavy opposition of chiropractic. Organized medicine went as far as having D. D. Palmer jailed for practicing medicine without a license. Additionally, thousands of other chiropractors were jailed for the same reason. In order to protect the fellow chiropractors and provide legal assistance for the prosecuted, B. J. Palmer founded the UCA (Universal Chiropractors’ Association). The UCA argued the terminology of organized medicine, stating that chiropractors “analyzed” and not “diagnosed”, “adjusted” and not “treated” diseases.
The feud of UCA versus AMA (American Medical Association)
The prosecutions didn’t stop by using semantics; instead, the pressure from the AMA grew stronger. Despite UCA proving their first test case in 1907, prosecution cases were increasing. One of the AMA’s most effective weapons was propaganda against the UCA. The American Medical Association went as far as labeling chiropractors as an “unscientific cult” in 1966. Furthermore, from the UCA’s conception, the AMA frowned upon its members associating with “unscientific practitioners”.
The long-standing feud saw its climax in the federal antitrust suit against the AMA by co-defendants Chester A. Wilk. The first trial in 1981, was filed due to violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, however, in this trial, the AMA emerged victoriously. In 1983, the plaintiffs appealed for a second trial due to improper jury instructions and they were granted a second trial. However, in this case, the roles were reversed. The AMA had the burden of proof, meaning they will need to establish a scientific basis for boycotting chiropractic. In September 1987, the case concluded with the UCA being victorious. According to the judge, “AMA’s actions were considered restraint of trade to contain and eliminate the chiropractic professions”.
The practice has gone far and beyond its original conception. Although D. D. Palmer was the founder, his otherworldly claims hurt the practice much more than it helped. Many chiropractors today, consider B. J. Palmer as the true origin face of chiropractic. While the merits of the alternative medicine were undeniable, these crucial mistakes early caused a significant delay in the widespread of the profession. From Kansas, the first state to issue a chiropractic license in 1913 all the way through Louisiana in 1974 all 50 states In the USA is able to issue licenses.
Since the conclusion of Wilk vs AMA, a wave of scholarly interest hit the chiropractic in the early 1990s. They were now considered a valid part of alternative medicine and even approved by health physicians and the AMA.
Chiropractic for you
Chiropractic can find its use in almost every part of modern medicine. With the advancements in technology, we are no longer victims of propaganda; we can witness with our own eyes the merits of this profession. We do not need to look further than YouTube itself, where we can find amazing evidence of the benefits chiropractic patients get.
We are bringing the merits of chiropractic near you with our medical center. Our chiropractors are eager to help you with your medical issues today! Book your appointment today and enter the beautiful world of alternative medicine that has helped so many people before.