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Chiropractic is a form of alternative healthcare based upon the theory that subluxations of the spine can cause pain and poor nerve signal transmission.[1] Proponents of Chiropractic theorize 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.[2]

In 2018, the medical journal JAMA Network Open indicated in the journal article Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain: A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial indicated:

Chiropractic care, when added to usual medical care, resulted in moderate short-term improvements in low back pain intensity and disability in active-duty military personnel. This trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for low back pain, as currently recommended in existing guidelines. However, study limitations illustrate that further research is needed to understand longer-term outcomes as well as how patient heterogeneity and intervention variations affect patient responses to chiropractic care"[3]

Dr. Grant Radermacher, DC points out: "The 2021 U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Division comprises a wide range of specialties – including MDs, DOs, PTs, ATs and massage therapists – and Doctors of Chiropractic are an essential part of that group. In fact, there are over 100 sports chiropractors on staff as part of the Olympic polyclinic and individual team delegations at this summer’s Olympic games."[4]

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.

Initial Reaction

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.

Licensing laws

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,[5] 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.

See also

External links


  3. Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain: A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial, JAMA Network Open, 2018 May 18;1(1):e180105.
  4. LET THE GAMES BEGIN… CHIROPRACTIC AT THE OLYMPICS! by Dr. Grant Radermacher, DC, Ascent Chiropractic