These two articles were published in a recent issue of Clinical Orhtopaedics & Related Research:
DeVocht JW. History and overview of theories and methods of chiropractic: a counterpoint. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2006;444:243-249.
Abstract: Spinal manipulation has been used for its therapeutic effects for at least 2500 years. Chiropractic as we know it today began a century ago in a simplistic manner but has developed into to a well-established profession with 33 colleges throughout the world. During the initial, bumpy years, many people thought it had little more value than a placebo. Nevertheless, there have always been satisfied recipients of chiropractic care during the years, and the profession slowly gained prominence–mostly by word of mouth. More recently, personal opinions based on isolated incidents have given way to the results of numerous clinical and basic science studies, primarily regarding low back pain. As of 2002, 43 randomized trials of spinal manipulation for low back pain had been published with 30 showing more improvement than with the comparison treatment, and none showing it to be less effective. Other studies have shown that chiropractic care compared with medical care is safer, costs no more and often costs much less, and has consistently greater patient satisfaction for treatment of similar conditions. Consequently, there is now better public and professional opinion of chiropractic with coverage by insurance companies and government agencies. That trend is likely to continue.
Homola S. Chiropractic: history and overview of theories and methods. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2006;444:236-242.
Abstract: Chiropractic is one of the most controversial and poorly defined healthcare professions with recognition and licensure in the United States. Chiropractic was started by D. D. Palmer, a magnetic healer who formulated the vertebral subluxation theory. The profession was developed by his son, B. J. Palmer. Although the definition of chiropractic as a method of correcting vertebral subluxations to restore and maintain health is questionable, spinal manipulation is of value in the treatment of some types of back pain. The chiropractic profession is still based on the vertebral subluxation theory, and has the confusing image of a back specialty capable of treating a broad scope of health problems. Despite opposition to use of spinal manipulation as a method of treating a broad scope of health problems (as opposed to the generally accepted use of manipulation in the treatment of back pain), chiropractors seek support as primary care providers in alternative medicine. It is essential to understand the theories, philosophies, and methods of chiropractic for an objective evaluation.
Filed under: Chiropractic/CAM