The Chiropractic Story
The discovery of chiropractic occurred a little more than a hundred years ago. At that time Dr. Daniel David Palmer enjoyed a thriving practice as a magnetic healer in Davenport, Iowa. He was also an accomplished anatomist.
Despite his successful practice, Dr. Palmer kept asking himself, "Why do some people become ill while others remain healthy?" He knew toxins, poisons, germs, and bacteria could cause disease. However, those causes failed to explain the vast majority of the health problems seen in his patients. He wondered if there might be some still undetected, common denominator which could explain the wide gamut of human illness.
One September day in 1895 Dr. Palmer was trying to carry on a conversation with Mr. Harvey Lillard, the janitor in his building. Harvey had been almost deaf for many years. He told Dr. Palmer that 17 years earlier while working in a stooped, cramped position he heard and felt something "pop" in his back. After that he began to lose his hearing.
Dr. Palmer examined Harvey's spine and discovered a misaligned vertebra at the very spot where Harvey remembered feeling something "pop" 17 years before. Dr. Palmer theorized if the vertebra "popped" out of place and caused Harvey to lose his hearing, then if he could adjust the vertebra back to its normal position, perhaps Harvey's hearing could be restored.
Dr. Palmer asked Harvey to lie face down across two office chairs. Then Dr. Palmer with a quick thrust of his hands realigned the malpositioned vertebra. Surprisingly, the vertebra slid rather easily back into its normal position, with no pain or discomfort. Harvey was thrilled when, within a short time, his hearing was restored.
Dr. Palmer, too, was excited. He wondered if any other conditions or maladies that beset mankind might be caused by spinal misalignments. That was the beginning of his research and testing with patients. Dr. Palmer soon found that correcting spinal misalignments often resulted in the reduction or elimination of a variety of health problems.
As time went on, Dr. Palmer formulated a theory to explain how misaligned vertebras could cause dysfunction, disease, and ailments in various parts of the body remote from the area of the spinal misalignments.
Briefly, Dr. Palmer theorized that because spinal misalignments are in such close proximity to adjacent nerve branches, such misalignments could compress, stretch, or irritate nerves - and, thereby, cause malfunctions involving parts or organs of the body supplied by the affected nerves.
As his fame spread, he soon began teaching others his methods and techniques. Many of his first students were already established doctors - but it soon became clear that the demand for chiropractic treatments exceeded the supply of those trained to give those treatments. This led to the establishment of the first chiropractic college.
The positive results of chiropractic treatments were so outstanding that chiropractic as a profession grew like wildfire. From that humble beginning of only one doctor and one patient, chiropractic has grown into a worldwide profession.
Today, in the United States, chiropractic doctors are licensed in all 50 states. Chiropractic is recognized by the federal government - as well as state governments. There are now more than 60,000 practitioners in the United States - and 16 colleges. There is an active chiropractic patient-base of more than 30 million patients under care. It has been estimated that as many as 1 out of every 6 Americans have received chiropractic treatment - and that number is growing at a rapid rate.
Explanation of Chiropractic
Chiropractic focuses on the fact that your body is supposed to be self-healing. When you cut your finger, you expect it to heal. If you break a bone, you expect it to heal. When you catch a cold, you expect your immune system to kick-in and take care of the problem.
Your body is supposed to be self-healing. However, sometimes your body may need help. For instance, if you get hit by an 18-wheeler you may need an emergency room - or if you fall down a flight of steps you may need a doctor to help make repairs - or help put things back in place. Chiropractors treat a host of injury cases.
Here's the point. As soon as a person develops a condition which is not healing itself, it's time to find out why his/her self-healing mechanism is no longer functioning correctly.
For instance, most kitchen ovens are self-cleaning. If your oven stopped "self-cleaning," you could start cleaning it yourself. Or, instead, you could get the self-cleaning mechanism fixed.
The same principle applies to people. When people get injured or become sick - and are not getting better on their own - chiropractic doctors check to determine why the patient's self-healing mechanism is not functioning properly.
More often than not, we find that some part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. This may be due to nerve irritation, nerve blockage, nerve compression, or other factors. The nervous system is (directly or indirectly) the controller of all the other systems in the body - that's why we check it first.
As stated earlier, more often than not, we find at least some part of the nervous system compromised. When we locate the problem we apply the appropriate treatment to get it fixed.
Some patients have an area where there's a "weak link" - possibly due to an old injury or birth defect. In those cases there is a tendency for recurrence. A weak link makes it difficult to restore normal function to 100%.
Thus, it often requires more time, and more treatment, including rehabilitation, for the patient to become a self-healing mechanism again.
That's what chiropractic is really all about: getting the body to heal itself - to become self-healing. In the final analysis, that's the only kind of healing that's likely to last.
Consider this. There's a vital force inside the human body. That vital force is the difference between being alive and being dead. When your vital force is functioning in all parts of the human body - at all times - then you are healthy. When it's restricted, reduced, impaired, or compromised in some way - you get sick. And when the vital force is gone - you're dead.
Restoring vitality - to the different parts of the human body - is the purpose of Chiropractic treatment. We're concerned with more than clearing up symptoms. We do more than treat headaches, back pain, and other dysfunctions. Our goal is to get the human body back to its normal, self-healing state.
As patients better understand the principles of chiropractic, they realize that when something goes wrong, and it doesn't clear up right away - they might benefit from seeing a chiropractic doctor.
For instance, if you had an injured finger that wasn't healing, what would you do? You would want to find out why it's not healing. You would get it fixed - so that it can heal itself. Otherwise, it's never going to get well.
If you had a choice between two bodies - one being self-healing, and the other not - in which body would you want to live?