AUGUST 11, 1997
Ask Dr Henry
Q: What do you think about chiropracters?
A: The term chiropractic comes from the Greek for "done by hand." It was invented in 1895 by Daniel Palmer, who believed that the cause for all disease was a misalignment (or "subluxation," as it is called in chiropractic) of the spine. He therefore felt that the cure for everything was straightening out these subluxations through spinal manipulation.
Palmer was quite rigid in his view about this. Many chiropracters who were trained in his school eventually came to disagree and branched out to include nutritional and other physical therapies in their practices. Today, what a chiropracter can do is governed by the laws of the states they practice in.
I think the spine is important in the general health of the mind and body and that there is a place for manipulation in one's health care. Keep in mind that chiropracters are not the only practitioners who are trained in manipulation. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.'s), as part of their schooling, and some M.D.'s on their own initiative have received training as well.
nough of my patients tell me they have been helped by chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation– particularly for certain kinds of low back and neck pain– that I do not hesitate to refer them for manipulation if they so desire. I do not think there is anything dangerous about manipulation in the hands of a skilled practitioner.
Lastly, in my opinion, any chiropracter who, like Palmer, insists that subluxations are the cause of all disease and need to be reversed for healing to occur would be someone I'd advise staying away from. If a chiropracter insists you keep coming in three or four times per week for months, and you don't feel any significant improvement, I'd suggest, at the very least, a second opinion from another practitioner.