On its Web site, the American Chiropractic Association says the roots of chiropractic care can be traced back to the beginning of recorded history. But in the United States, the practice of spinal manipulation became popularized in the late 19th century by a man named Daniel David Palmer.
Here's what biography.com says about Palmer, who was born near Toronto, Canada, and moved to Iowa around 1880:
"Largely self-taught, he was a small businessman who became interested in alternative forms of medicines such as magnetic healing, osteopathy, and vertebral manipulation.
In 1898 he founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, the first school to train chiropractors by his system. The school was not at first successful; his son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer, was one of the few graduates. In 1903 Daniel tried to establish a second center in Portland, Oregon, but returned to Davenport (where his son was now running the school).
In 1906 he was jailed for six months for practicing medicine without a license, and he went back to Portland and had to restrict himself to his own private practice. His Textbook of the Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic (1910) attacked just about everyone who practiced any kind of medicine, including his son. He returned uninvited to a school reunion and died from injuries after being struck by a car while leading a parade. His son Bartlett and grandson David Daniel persevered to make chiropractic the accepted alternative it has become."
KEY BELIEFS OF CHIROPRACTORS
+ Chiropractors believe the body has great abilities to heal itself without drugs or surgery.
+ Chiropractic medicine is used most often to treat problems with muscles, joints and bones, especially the back.
+ A central belief of chiropractic medicine is that "subluxations," or misalignments of the spine, can interfere with the flow of nerves from the spine to other parts of the body, causing a variety of health problems. But some chiropractors have abandoned this theory.
BY THE NUMBERS
+ There are more than 50,000 chiropractors in the United States.
+ There are 3,185 chiropractors actively practicing in Florida.
+ Americans make nearly 192-million visits each year to chiropractors, according to a 1997 survey.
+ Fewer than half of those visits, about 88-million, were to treat back and neck pain.
+ About 11 percent of Americans visit a chiropractor each year, according to a 1998 survey.
+ More than 75 percent of private health care plans and more than half of health maintenance organizations cover chiropractic treatment.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
www.amerchiro.org, the American Chiropractic Association
www.nccam.nih.gov/health/chiropractic, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health
_ Sources: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health; American Chiropractic Association; Florida Department of Health