Adrian Arbuckle

Professor Gibbons

English 1302-8456

25 May 2000

Alternative Medicine: Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the third largest doctoral-level health profession in the United States, after medicine and dentistry. This form of health care is on the rise and there are more than forty thousand chiropractors in practice in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and many other nations. Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine commonly used and accepted today. Chiropractic is specifically defined as a therapeutic system of curing ailments and manipulation of various body parts, particularly the spinal column. Although chiropractors have had a hard time establishing a worthy reputation, times have changed and studies are proving the benefits of chiropractic. In order for people to receive natural, holistic, efficient, and cost-effective treatment, people should seek doctors of chiropractic. (Thesis: In order for...)

Chiropractic was first started by David Daniel Palmer in 1895. Palmer began his practices in magnetic healing in response to his never-ending thirst for knowledge in 1887 (Chiropractic OnLine Today). When he moved to Davenport, Iowa, Palmer began chiropractic with his first adjustment on a janitor on September 18, 1895. The janitor had been deaf for seventeen years after hearing a pop in his back one day. Palmer concluded that one of his vertebrae was out of place and so he thrusted the vertebrae back into place and the manís hearing automatically improved (Chiropractic OnLine Today). This was the birth of the chiropractic theory, which means to do by hand. Palmer believed that decreased nerve flow may be the cause of disease, and that misplaced spinal vertebrae may cause pressure on the nerves (Chiropractic OnLine Today). In conclusion, he theorized, if the spinal column was accurately positioned, the body would be healthy. Palmer began a chiropractic school, Palmer Infirmary and Chiropractic Institute, in 1907. His son, Bartlett Joshua, was one of the first fifteen graduated. Later in his life, Bartlett also had a large impact on the chiropractic field when his dad ran into some legal problems. Palmerís son took over the school and helped chiropractic to gain prominence in the medical field. Following its founding, chiropractic went downhill and then in the 1940ís began to grow again. In July 1995, the first Historical Centennial Celebration took place in Washington, DC with thousands of professional in the field attending. (Background)

Chiropractic is holistic and concerned with a patientís overall well-being. Chiropractic treatment considers the whole person and gives special treatment to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional, and environmental relationships(American Chiropractic Association). Many people initially think of consulting a chiropractor for back pain only, but there are many other components of chiropractic treatment and has the ability to help many illnesses and problems. Because the spine is like the trunk of the body, it can have impact on all areas of the human structure. The many moveable parts of the spine make it a complex system. In addition to the twenty-four vertebrae, there are joints between each vertebra. In such a system, in order to maintain balance, each one these joints must be moving entirely and properly (Bayuk). If just one component is out of line, the imbalance disturbs the nervous system, called subluxation. Chiropractic helps the body keep control of itself through manipulation of the spinal column. While the spine helps control the muscles of the body, it also includes the bodyís ability to breathe properly, keep the heart beating, and other vital functions. The spine column has many nerves that control the blood flow through blood vessels, proper digestion, and the immune system. Just because chiropractors focus on the spinal column, does not limit their field of treatment. In actuality, this very fact is what allows chiropractic to help such a broad range of problems and conditions. For example, a 1991 study at National College of Chiropractic renders very promising news for women suffering from tortuous menstruation. This FCER-funded study found that women who received chiropractic spinal manipulation reported significant reduction in back pain and menstrual distress(Joseph, Chiropractic Works). Along with menstruation, headaches, allergies, asthma, stomach disorders, spastic colon, and arm, hand, and leg pain are treatable by chiropractors. (Evidence #1)

Chiropractic, in addition to holistic, is efficient and cost-effective. Until recently, chiropractic was ignored by most others, but new studies are