The chiropractic profession has had a colourful history full adversity. In the small group session this week we learned about how the struggles of chiropractors before us have served to shape the identity of the profession. It was inspiring to hear from the various groups of the commitment and dedication our predecessors fought with to gain acceptance for chiropractic. Understanding this part where of the history of the profession is important because it illustrates the power of educating skeptics of chiropractic about its many beneficial applications.
The first chiropractic adjustment performed by Daniel David Palmer, the founding father of chiropractic in 1895 was an instrumental moment in chiropractic history that all of the groups in my session felt it was important to discuss. The story as told by all the groups goes as follows: D.D. palmer performed the adjustment on a partially deaf janitor who had a back injury that he thought was the reason for his hearing impairment. D.D. Palmer saw a vertebra he thought was out of place and attempted to put it back into place which lead to the restoration of the janitor’s hearing. Since palmer was trained in and believed in many healing methods which have since been proven to have no scientific merit skeptics of chiropractic, especially in its early days regarded chiropractic in the same way as these other unscientific methods. This is an important historical even to be informed about because it has left a lasting mark on chiropractic in the minds of skeptics. This story is hard to believe for people who have not been informed about the sensory feedback patterns that make this case report plausible. From the beginning there has been a shadow of doubt cast upon the efficacy of chiropractic and has put the burden of proof on chiropractors. Learning about this story has motivated me to practice in an evidence informed manner to be able to educate patients and skeptics on the facts regarding chiropractic.
The stigma against chiropractic was long lasting as is evidenced by the conflict the chiropractic and medical professions have had. Many of the groups told stories of the early days of chiropractic where chiropractors were commonly jailed for practicing medicine without a licence. Chiropractors eventually were able to distinguish themselves as a unique profession legally and were granted the jurisdiction to licence and regulate other chiropractors across the world. The groups also told the story of the Wilk et al. Vs the American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1980s. The AMA was eventually found to have discriminated against chiropractors by telling their doctors not to associate with chiropractors and distributing biased information trying to discredit chiropractors. Again this story serves to illustrate why it is very important to be evidence informed because these attitudes towards chiropractors still exist even though chiropractic has been proven to have many beneficial effects.
The chiropractic profession has persevered to become one of the most wide spread health care professions in the world. In Canada our progress is evidenced by being legally granted authority to practice on equal standing as the other health care professions in the Regulated Health Care Professionals act. In Ontario progress is evidenced by chiropractic being included in provincial health insurance coverage even though its inclusion was intermittent. As the practitioners of tomorrow we must continue to value education and research to continue the furtherance of the profession.