Chiropractic is a form of alternative healthcare based upon the theory that subluxations of the spine can cause pain and poor nerve signal transmission. Proponents of Chiropractic have theorized that the vertebrae in the human spine can become misaligned, applying extra stress on certain muscles and possibly irritating the hub of a nerve pathway. However, the claims of Chiropractors have been in contention for many years, and despite its mainstream nature, it has been alleged that many of the claims regarding the benefits of Chiropractic are exaggerated.
Chiropractic was developed by DD Palmer, a magnetic healer, in 1895. The idea behind chiropractic medicine is the Chiropractic practitioner, or Chiropractor will use physical or instrument manipulations to realign the spine. Chiropractic adjustments have been stereotyped as racking and cracking. This is not true as there are several techniques, most notably Activator Methods Technique, which involve no physical maneuvers.
Allopathic medicine was quick to mobilize against chiropractors, after it was first introduced to the world. It was considered illegal and many of the early chiropractors, including Palmer, were convicted of practicing medicine without a license.
In the 1930s, the first chiropractic licensure laws were passed to protect the public from charlatans masquerading as chiropractors. With the passage of a Chiropractic Licensure Act in Louisiana, chiropractic became legal in all 50 States. As with allopathic medicine, it is unlawful to practice chiropractic without a license.
Prospective chiropractors must graduate from chiropractic school and pass a rigorous examination administered by the National Board of Examiners. Before gaining admission to Chiropractic School, they must have an undergraduate degree and have completed required pre chiropractic coursework. Only then will a State Board of Examiners grant them a license to practice. Education does not end after licensure, as completion of continuing education is a prerequisite for license renewal.
Scope of Practice
The scope of practice for chiropractors varies by state. Generally they are primary care providers, though. In Oregon, chiropractors are allowed to practice obstretics, write prescriptions, and perform minor surgeries. California, on the other hand, allows none of these things to be done by chiropractors.
Wilks v. AMA
After Wilks v. AMA, the medical community began to cooperate more with chiropractors for the benefit of patients.