Seventeen years earlier, Lillard told Palmer, he became partially deaf after something “popped” in his back. Palmer, a longtime student of anatomy and physiology, went to the source, adjusting vertebrae in the janitor’s spine and restoring his hearing.
While it wasn’t the first time healers realized the spine held answers to their patients’ health problems – Hippocrates (469-377 B.C.) said “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” – Palmer’s subsequent study and use of hand manipulation launched what he called chiropractic.
And 122 years later, as we celebrate National Chiropractic Month in October, the science of his early discovery offers new hope to those struggling with chronic pain. It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy road but a recent study of Americans 18 and older found 40 percent said they may seek chiropractic care, 30 percent have used it and 9 percent regularly seek a chiropractor’s help.
Here is the history that brought us to that point:
• In 1897, Palmer founded the Palmer School of Cure, now called the Palmer College of Chiropractic.
• In 1906, according to Palmer College of Chiropractic, Palmer was jailed for practicing medicine without a license. He used the 23 days to further study chiropractic care and told friends “Prison food is not bad; I can stand it.”
• In 1913, Kansas became the first state to license the practice of chiropractic, the same year Palmer died. Others soon followed, with Louisiana the last, in 1974.
• In 1933, the U.S. Council of State Chiropractic Licensing Boards, now the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, was founded, establishing unified standards for licensing.
• In 1987, an antitrust case filed by Chester W. Wilk, D.C., against the American Medical Association led to more cooperation between chiropractors and medical doctors in education, research and practice.
• In 1994, chiropractic care received a huge vote of confidence when government-sponsored expert panels in the U.S. and United Kingdom released reports recognizing it as a proven and preferred treatment approach for low-back pain. Today’s patient satisfaction numbers bear them out, one study showing 9.1 out of every 10 declaring it very effective.
• In 1996, the U.S. government funded chiropractic research through the National Institutes of Health. Six years later, Congress introduced chiropractic services in the military health system, and in 2004, extended it to the veterans’ administration healthcare system.
• In 2003, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress was founded to further educate the public about the benefits of chiropractic care through positive press.
• In 2015, the number of chiropractic licenses issued in the United States numbered 94,071. Click here to find a doctor near you.
• In 2017, the doctors of chiropractic have come to the forefront in the battle against opioid abuse, with studies proving chiropractic care is a viable alternative to prescription opioid painkillers.