Q: Chiropractic intrigues me as a healthcare provider. How long has chiropractic been around? How can I learn more about the profession and the doctors? Why are we not taught more about what chiropractors do?
A: Over the years, chiropractic has grown both in popularity and in the sophistication of the practice. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands recognize chiropractic as a health-care profession. There are more than 60,000 chiropractic licenses in the United States. Medicare recognizes a doctor of chiropractic as a physician.
Doctors of chiropractic undergo at least four years of study, after undergraduate college education, at one of the 16 chiropractic colleges accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education, an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. They also must pass national board exams and become state-licensed before they can practice. Chiropractic is the third largest doctoral-level field of health care after medicine and dentistry. Doctors of chiropractic provide care in hospitals and other health care facilities. There are many specialties of chiropractic available from pediatric to orthopedic and neurology.
Although the concepts of joint mobilization date back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, the beginning of chiropractic in the U.S. is traced back to 1895, when Daniel David Palmer founded the profession in Davenport, Iowa. In 1897 he founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic, which continues to be one of the leading chiropractic colleges in the country. This was the same time frame that Andrew Stills developed osteopathy, a similar profession that focused on joint mobilization at the time. Nowadays, most osteopaths commonly cannot be discerned from an MD as their main treatment focuses on pharmaceutical prescription. Chiropractors have never used pharmacological therapy but will co-treat with these medical providers.
The history of chiropractic is an entertaining story. It is intertwined with the colorful story of our healthcare delivery system that we see in America today. This system is under heavy scrutiny now and it appears that the heavy cost burden of being completely reliant on pharmaceuticals has been costly to our economy and our general health in this country. The new paradigm of healthcare that we will likely see is very congruent with chiropractic healthcare philosophy. We are about to see a lot of change and many of us are going to learn about “secrets” of health that we never know about. These “secrets” are what chiropractors have been talking about for 100 years, but since they do not include pharmaceutical therapy, have been shunned… until now. This is why many of us do not have a good understanding of what any professional that does not prescribe medicine, not just chiropractic, does. This is not by mistake.
There are three documentaries about to be released that are not only entertaining but very educational and informative for those of us that WANT to know how to better manage our own health. Look for these titles to come out in the coming months. “Doctored” and “Pain in America” both get released this fall and winter. A third documentary that unveils our misguided healthcare system comes out next year. I do not know its title as of now.
Ask your chiropractor any questions you have about the field.
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