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The History of Chiropractic (Do You Know What You Think You Know?)

CF 092: The History of Chiropractic (Do You Know What You Think You Know?)

Today we’re going to talk about the history of spinal manipulative therapy and the history of chiropractic. 

But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music

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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around. Welcome, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have collapsed into Episode #92

Now i you missed last week’s episode on the 10,000 Steps Myth, the neuro aspect of an adjustment, and sodas kill, make sure you don’t miss that info. 

Keep up with your colleagues and listen. Also, don’t miss Episode #13. I systematically debunk the myth that we chiropractors cause strokes. I’m not having it, y’all. It’s just not reality and I show you how to fight the myth. 

Also, a few episodes back we talked about Closing Patients and my opinion on that. It may not be what you think it is. 

This week has been more of just catching up. My new schedule I mentioned last week either has my world screwed epically or it’s working beautifully. Lol. Time will only tell but I’m pretty confident we’re doing just fine. 

If you missed last week, I talked about implementing a firmer policy of having patient time and new patient/paper time. 

Since doing that, we have been a bit lighter on the schedule that in recent weeks past but I am getting so much more done right now and it feels good. I have more energy at the end of the day. And doesn’t it feel good to feel good?

It’s cool. For now. If it gets much lighter on the schedule, I’ll hit the WTF? Button and switch gears. WTF….that stands for Why The Face right?Lol. 

Kidding!! I know what it means but I run a mostly clean business here!! But, the point was….. I’m not worried at all right now. 

We are about to get to all things History here but I saw an interesting thing on Facebook this week and it made me want to punt a kitten. I thought I’d share. 

I was on Facebook and saw a couple of knuckleheads coming live from a coffee house. They do it once a week. Doesn’t sound too miserable just yet, does it? It’s actually a decent idea. Get the coffee shop in on it and Facebook live it once a week from the coffee shop talking about certain issues and what your solution to the certain issues might be. Maybe take questions from the crowd there too. Not a bad idea honestly.

Hell, I’d do that myself. Problem is that I’m too damn busy to do it and I’m not a morning person so I’m not getting up early enough to do it before work. Just forget it. Freaking forget it. 

These guys are there at like 10 am on a specific day and I’m like….why aren’t you at work working on people in your work place where people work at 10 am on a work day? Lol. 

They say build it and they will come and Maybe they haven’t built it just yet so the crowds are not coming just yet. I don’t know. Maybe they just make this coffee shop thing a priority for now and choose to not be working on a work day. Either way, one day the one dude wore a cap in the video and the next week he wore a tight little top knot man bun. 

YESSSS I’m old. Yess I think it looks unprofessional. Yes…it makes me crazy like so many other things of his generation tend to do,  and yes…..I’d rather take a kick in the nuggets than to allow someone that looks and talks like him work on me or my kid. 

But…..Yes….there’s a chiropractor for everyone so…..what the hell do I know. Look the way you want I suppose. I’ve heard they have chiros in Florida and California that dress in flip flops and shorts so….when it Rome I guess. 

Here’s my deal, they target kids and parents. Nothing wrong with that. But, they are busy talking about kids that can’t concentrate at school and how there’s just a disconnect in what God meant them to be capable of and what they are currently doing and, if the parents just bring them in to the chiropractor, these guys can help the kids make the connection back and lead that kiddo to the awesome shining light of a life that God intended for them. 

Ummmm…..no you can’t. Is that judgy? Yup. Sorry, whether you admit it or not, we make snap judgements of each other. Rightly or wrongly. IT’s a fact of life. My snap judgement is…..son of a mother. Son of a motherless goat. 

There are so many great chiropractors engaged in research, engaged in diplomat programs. Engaged in taking themselves and this profession to the next level. And this crap trashes all of it. Chunks it all in to the garbage immediately. 

 They chunk it in the garage with their ‘truth’. You hear that crap all of the time now. Speak YOUR truth. We all have our own truth. When did that start exactly? There’s the truth and that’s it. There’s not your truth, my truth, my dog’s truth, some talking head on TV’s truth…..none of it. There is only THE truth. 

And the truth is I’ve seen nothing convincing about this sort of stuff. Absolutely 100% nothing to the level allowing people to get on Facebook touting the ability in a voice that says “You’re great parents. You’re doing everything for your kiddo and we know that. You just need the right kind of help.” Srsly? I you could just get the parents on your brogram…..err…I mean program. 

Come on bruh. Bro. Broseph, I can see it now, they sell brotein shakes at their office and it’s part of the brogram that Billbro Baggins and his buddy Chillbro Swaggins put together after a night of hitting the hookah. 

Show me the support for chiropractors resolving ADHD, autism, and all of that other stuff they claim to help with. Show me it in systematic trials. Maybe randomized controlled trials. Hell, just something peer reviewed and published in a reputable journal? 

But DON’T show me a damn case study or pilot study. Don’t do it or I’ll name you publicly. Lol. I can’t handle people that think case studies hold up to proper scrutiny. They do not. They’re interesting and, for the most part, that’s it. 

They could be doing these in business suits and ties and start spouting unsupported claims like this and they would still look like space cadets claiming they have been to the moon, looked back at Earth, and it is indeed flat despite all evidence to the contrary. Seriously. Srsly. 

I can’t stand this sort of gibberish. It’s a waste of time and talent. 

I’m getting to Item #1 in just a second but we can’t get started without mentioning the sponsor of the first half of our show, 

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Item #1

Now we know a little about our more recent history like chiropractors used to go to jail for treating patients. We know that the AMA has wanted us banished form Earth since our inceptions. Most chiropractors know this stuff. And you should know this stuff. 

But, I remember Dr. Anthony Nicholson, on one of his guest spots with us, I remember him mentioning that spinal manipulative therapy was actually one of the mainstays of treatment before the explosion of the physician/medical complex. I honestly did not know that. 

So, when I stumbled across this paper called “A History fo Manipulative Therapy.” I started reading. It was written by Erlan Pettman(Pettman E 2007) who is actually a PT and published in the Journal of Manual Manipulative Therapeutics in 2007, Old man river…..it’s an oldie but goodie, people. 

So, the author is a PT and this is basically his devotion to getting spinal manipulative therapy under the scope of physical therapists. Or to get more PTs to utilize it. I don’t know but, he says that the earliest reference to its use is in 400 BC back in Europe. 

Interestingly, he says that spinal manipulative therapy rose simultaneously in cultures from Indonesia, Hawaii, Japan, China and India, to Central Asia, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, and Norway. All things I did not know. He also mentions that historical reference to Greece show the first direct evidence of its use and that it was well-established at the 400 BC mark so certainly predated that time going even further back. 

Get this: Hippocrates who lived from 460-385 BC and who is referred to as the father of medicine….you know….the whole hippocratic oath thing….anyway, even back then he wrote a book on joints and described using spinal manipulative therapy. He even noted that the treatment should be followed by exercises. That’s sort of being ahead of ones time wouldn’t you agree?

This is such an interesting paper that I do hope you’ll check it out. I’m linking it in the show notes right here at this point in the text of the podcast. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565620/

While it’s very interesting, it is also very long and you’re not going to stick with me through it. There’s enough here that I may need to do an entire episode just on this paper because it’s THAT fascinating. 

Briefly, he says that as common as spinal manipulative therapy was throughout the origins of mankind, it appears that physicians and surgeons began to abandon the acceptance of it in the 18th century. Though he can’t say exactly why, he offers that it could conceivably be from using the technique for the wrong candidate or potentially the perceived danger in manipulating a spine weakened by tuberculosis which was ravaging the population at that time. 

So that’s where the downturn started for spinal manipulative therapy and, as he says, by the 19th century, a significant part of the medical establishment has a true disdain for bonesetters and their practices. 

While there were many throwing the proverbial poo at spinal manipulative therapy, there were others with the power to recognize the obvious. Robert Jones, the founder of British Orthopaedics, wrote, “We should mend our ways rather than abuse the unqualified. Dramatic success in their hands should cause us to enquire as to the reason. It is not wise or dignified to waste time denouncing their mistakes, for we cannot hide the fact that their successes are our failures” INDEED Mr. Jones. Indeed….

Were you told that DD Palmer invented chiropractic? Of course you were. I was too. And, in as far as ‘chiropractic’ is an industry or a profession, he did. But, he did not invent the idea of ‘bonesetting’ through some magical discovery. At least it doesn’t appear that way in this article. 

The author talks about Andrew Taylor Still. Still was also a magnetic healer. He suffered from chronic headache and took note one day. He had fallen asleep with his neck wedged between the roots of an oak tree. Upon waking, he had no more headaches. From there he began conceiving a theory about health and how it could only be maintained and, therefore, disease defeated, through normal function of the musculoskeletal system. This was all in 1874. Still went on to create the practice of Osteopathy. Did you know that Still’s practice was only about a day’s drive from DD Palmer’s town?

An astute listener will see the parallels of where osteopathy WAS and originated very similar to where chiropractic was and originated. And very astute listeners will make note of where osteopathy is now and where some in the chiropractic profession wish to keep us…..right back where we started. No progress. No learning. No breakthroughs. Nothing. It’s dumbfounding to say the least. 

The author also talks about DD Palmer in the article. How could you not? He says that he was not the first to use the word subluxation nor was he the first to describe the use of the spinous and transverse processes as levers to adjust said subluxation. Those honors go to Johannes Hieronymi, William and Daniel Griffen, and Edward Harrison. 

Did you know that in the 1920’s chiropractic was on life support but that the GI Bill after WWII was what enabled returning soldiers to go to chiropractic college and really bolster the numbers? I didn’t know that. Pretty cool. 

Also of particular note is that in 1958, the National New from the National Chiropractic Association warned about the rising numbers of PT’s training in manipulative procedures. So…..that’s been a thing for a long time it seems. Lol. 

Just a fascinating read for us chiropractors. Go give it a look see and see what you think. I’d love to hear your impressions. Email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com and let me know what you thought. 

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The History of Chiropractic (Do You Know What You Think You Know?)

The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!

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Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out. 

Connect

We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 

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About the Author & Host

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Bibliography

Pettman E (2007). “A History of Manipulative Therapy.” J Man Manip Ther 15(3): 165-174.