Chiropractic is a complementary and alternative healthcare profession that is involved in diagnosing and treating medical problems by adjustments made to the spine and the musculoskeletal system, usually by way of affecting the nervous system to improve the well-being of patients. This is based on an understanding that some human body problems come from lack of a normal nerve function, which chiropractors help improve through manipulation and adjustments of body structures. It has been particularly useful in dealing with joint problems, with some medical professionals still querying its use for many other health problems.
The history of chiropractic work began with Daniel David Palmer, an Iowa merchant who was able to treat a deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard, on September 18, 1895. Lillard had a misaligned vertebra, which, when adjusted, helped cure his deafness. The word chiropractic was coined by Rev. Samuel Weed, who based it on the Greek words “done by hand.” Palmer’s technique was seen as a method of curing people of some ailments without the use of medicine, and led to the establishment of the Palmer School of Chiropractic (now the Palmer College of Chiropractic). Many doctors were critical of this, and Heinrich Mathey, a medical doctor in Davenport, Iowa, started a campaign against Palmer, who was convicted in 1906 of practicing medicine without license. This led B.J. Palmer, son of Daniel Palmer, to form the Universal Chiropractic Association (UCA) to protect members and cover their legal expenses.
Gradually, some people came to see chiropractors as being extremely useful in dealing with specific problems. This led to the National Institute of Health meeting in 1975 where chiropractors, osteopaths, medical doctors, and researchers met for a conference on spinal manipulation. Until 1983, the American Medical Association regarded chiropractic as “an unscientific cult,” but lost a court case when a Chicago chiropractic, Chester A. Wilk, launched an antitrust suit against them. Nowadays, doctors of chiropractic are trained in accredited chiropractic colleges, and chiropractic is a recognized profession in more than 100 countries in the world.
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