Spinal manipulation has been well documented within the writings of Hippocrates and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) literature. In Western society, spinal manipulation began in the late 19th century with the development of osteopathic medicine by a frontier doctor named Andrew Taylor Still, MD. This school of medicine, as he developed it, began in 1874. Today, it has trained osteopathic physicians able to be board-
Another form of manipulation was developed in 1895 by David Daniel Palmer, a local magnetic healer, and a student of Dr Still’s. Palmer termed his healing art “chiropractic,” from the Greek words chiro and praktikos, meaning “done by hand.” Chiropractors are not physicians in the traditional sense of the term. They do not practice medicine or surgery. They do not prescribe medications. Chiropractors treat misalignments, or subluxations, within the spinal column that they believe cause problems within the nervous system, thereby leading to disease. Chiropractors treat these subluxations with manipulation of the spine and may use adjunctive therapies such as heat, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound.
Both of these approaches grew and developed their own systems of accreditation. Most patients who receive manipulation today are treated by one of these two groups of healers.
The public tends to have a narrow concept of manipulation. High-
Patients seeking any form of manipulation should do their homework on the proposed providers and techniques used in order to find competent practitioners capable of performing such procedures as safely as possible. The risks and benefits must be clearly discussed. Just as one chooses their surgeon carefully, so too must a patient evaluate any practitioner who would attempt manipulation.
Note that no clear study findings within peer-