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History of Chiropractic Therapy

Many individuals may be surprised to find that chiropractic-like treatments have been documented and discussed by physicians in medical texts dating back thousands of years. For example, the use of spinal manipulation to relieve back pain and extremity pain has been noted in medical writings since the time of the ancient Greeks. Since then, chiropractic care has come a long way to become the widely known medical practice today, utilized by more than 35 million patients annually in the U.S. alone. Today, nearly one million chiropractic adjustments are performed daily in the U.S. to relieve a wide range of ailments patients suffer from and support overall health and functioning. In the article below, we will explore the history and evolution of chiropractic therapy.


History has noted chiropractic-like therapy as an effective medical treatment dating back to 2700 BC, based on ancient Greek and Chinese texts. Specifically, spinal manipulation and adjustment of lower extremities to relieve pain have been recorded in medical documents dating back thousands of years. Additionally, a world-renowned Greek physician of the classical period, Hippocrates (460-377 BC), often known as ‘the father of medicine,’ published texts describing chiropractic principles and techniques. He famously wrote, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”


Chiropractic therapy was founded by Dr. D.D. Palmer in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. Dr. D.D. Palmer was widely known as a magnetic healer who extensively studied anatomy and medical journals. Dr. Palmer famously first treated a patient who had lost his ability to hear after experiencing a “pop” in his neck. After receiving an adjustment from Dr. D.D. Palmer, correcting the man’s spinal misalignment, the man had regained his hearing. Although, subsequently, chiropractic care was not found to be an effective treatment for deafness, it was found to treat a wide range of other ailments. After treating other patients, the healing phenomenon found by many patients was more extensively studied. Soon after that, a clinic was established where medical doctors evaluated patients after chiropractors adjusted them. In 1896. Dr. Samuel Weed named this newly discovered field of medicine ‘chiropractic’ which derives from Greek ‘cheiros’ and ‘praktikos’ meaning “done by hand.” Finally, in 1913, Kansas was the first state to recognize and license the practice of chiropractic care.


Dr. Palmer founded the Palmer School of Chiropractor in 1897, in Davenport, Iowa. The profession was further pioneered by Dr. Palmer’s son B.J. Palmer. The work carried out by B.J. Palmer, succeeding his father, helped the profession spread and become as prominent as it is today. Chiropractic care has survived throughout the centuries because of the many patients who have continually noticed improved health and pain relief after receiving treatments. The school founded by Dr. Palmer is now known today as the Palmer College of Chiropractic.


Over a hundred years ago, chiropractic care was prohibited by law in the U.S. until a licensing board was established in the field, allowing chiropractors to practice. Today, chiropractic care is legally recognized in the U.S. and numerous countries worldwide as a safe and effective method of medical care. Chiropractic treatment has evolved from being known as an alternative medicine to being considered mainstream. Many doctors and patients consider chiropractic care to be an effective alternative to invasive surgeries and pharmaceutical drugs for pain relief and relief from other health conditions. In 1988, the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) was formed. By 1997, the WFC was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2002, U.S. Congress introduced chiropractic services into the U.S. military health system to help treat various ailments of enlisted soldiers. In 2015, the Joint Commission, an organization that accredits more than 21,000 US healthcare organizations, has added chiropractic to its pain management standard. In 2017, The American College of Physicians released new guidelines for lower back pain treatment and has recommended chiropractic therapy first as a gentle, non-drug treatment. Today, over 35 million patients are seen in the U.S. by a chiropractor. The U.S. chiropractic industry is estimated to be worth over 15 billion, with over 70,000 registered chiropractors in the U.S. and over 100,000 registered chiropractors worldwide. It has also been found that chiropractic techniques are 40% more effective when it comes to treating low back pain compared to traditional medical care, with a much lower injury rate. It is also estimated that you may reduce pharmaceutical costs by over 85% by regularly visiting a chiropractor.


Our experienced team of chiropractors at Atlas Total Health Chiropractic is grateful to have served the Southeastern Tennessee and North Georgia area for over twenty years. Contact us today at (866) 668-0108 to learn more about our services and how we may help you.