Like many fields, the history of chiropractic is fraught with controversy. It started with its origin in 1895, when a beekeeper, teacher, grocer and self-described spiritual healer named Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer proclaimed that a deceased physician named Jim Atkinson had, during a séance, revealed the metaphysical relationship between spinal disorders and overall health. During the next century, chiropractic evolved away from the philosophy espoused by Palmer and his son, Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer. Today, chiropractic has become socially accepted as an alternative method for treatment of back and neck pain, primarily through manual manipulation of the vertebrae without medication or surgery.
The Untestable Metaphor
D.D. Palmer’s original philosophy of chiropractic medicine was not based on scientific theory or observation. Rather, he used faith-based reasoning – along with inspiration from Dr. Atkinson – to conclude that the body contained an “innate intelligence” or “vitalistic” energy that represented the presence of a higher spiritual power. This vitality, Palmer concluded, was centered within the spine. Therefore, according to his reasoning, 95 percent of diseases could be traced to spinal disorders. His untestable metaphor, a faith-based assertion that the mind-body relationship has a direct bearing on overall health, led to the development of his three-fold chiropractic philosophy:
- There is a fundamental and important relationship, mediated through the nervous system, between the spine and overall health
- Mechanical and functional disorders of the spine (vertebral subluxation) can harm health
- Correction of spinal disorders (adjustments) may restore health
Alternative to Modern Chiropractic
Modern chiropractic is regulated state by state, and practitioners are required to earn a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from an accredited institution. Even though Palmer’s original philosophy remains controversial, there is anecdotal evidence that chiropractic manipulation can provide temporary relief from some symptoms associated with spinal disorders. However, when chiropractic therapy fails to manage chronic back or neck pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure can help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.