Chiropractic (taken from the Greek “cheiros”, meaning “hand”, and “praktos”, meaning “done by”– was coined in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s) medicine has been around for literally ages, although not in its present day form. In practically all lands and all cultures there have been “bone healers” of one form or another. Right here in Kuwait we have Arabian “bone healing”, which is a form of healing art passed down through the generations that has been around in this area for thousands of years. Although it is not exactly like modern chiropractic, it is certainly extremely similar to it.
Chiropractic is the practice of spinal manipulation, which is said to literally cure all disease. The theory is that the root of all disease is found in the alignment of the spine and the entire musculus-skeletal system in the body, and thus, the health of the major nerves that come out of the spine. Basically, the idea is that all disease stems from problems in this area, due to imbalances in the central nervous system. The treatment, that has come to be known as chiropractic therapy is based on this theory, and involves manipulation of the vertebrae in order to clear the passages of the nerves, and therefore bring the body back into homeostasis (balance and health). One of the most important and beneficial aspects of chiropractic medicine is that the cure is accomplished completely free of chemical medications and invasive intervention. It is all done in a perfectly natural and safe way, without interrupting the natural energy flow of the bodily systems.
Depictions of spinal manipulation have been around for close to as long as recorded human life, and there have even been cave drawings of this type of treatment being done (specifically from France) dating back as far as 17,500 BC! There is evidence of this practice from practically every civilization, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient China, and more. In fact way back in the times of ancient Greece, Hippocrates (who is called the father of modern medicine) (460- around 377 BC) stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for it is the requisite of many diseases.” And another ancient Greek practitioner, from the same time as Hippocrates, by the name of Herodotus, felt that diseases were caused by misalignment of the spinal vertebrae, and used to manipulate the spine in order to cure people. As I mentioned before, in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding areas, bone setters still practice their art, much as it was practiced thousands of years ago by their forefathers. Here in Kuwait there is one very well-known Bedouin bone setter and a slew of bone setters of Iranian descent.
Modern day chiropractic medicine has had a much shorter history, beginning in the late 1800’s in the USA by a Canadian born man by the name of Daniel David Palmer. He had long been studying the details of anatomy and physiology, as well as other types of natural healing (he was a practitioner of magnetic healing), and felt that most, if not all, disease stemmed from incorrectly aligned spinal vertebrae. His first actual chiropractic treatment was on a man who had been deaf for 17 years, due to a spinal injury. After adjusting the offending vertebra, he quickly regained his hearing! He introduced the first students to chiropractic, although many people in America didn’t believe in his methods and eventually had him jailed! His son later continued on with his work, helping modern chiropractic medicine on the way to its present popularity by founding the first school of chiropractic medicine in the USA, and eventually getting chiropractic to be recognized as a bonafide practice. Now the practice is recognized in all 50 US states and all over the world. Since the practice of chiropractic has developed over the past century, x rays are now used as part of the diagnostic tools of chiropractors, along with other forms of technology, and specific techniques for spinal manipulation, but the basic practice remains the same, hands on manipulation. Studies have been done that show that chiropractic medicine is one of the most effective forms of treatment for a variety of diseases. A study done in Canada in 1993 showed that the cost effectiveness of using chiropractic was so great that it would save patients and insurance companies literally millions of dollars every single year, particularly in lost wages and disability payments!
I was personally introduced to chiropractic by my grandmother, who was a pioneer in many ways, and went to a chiropractor regularly in order to help her arthritis. Many years later, when I was suffering from pain in my back, and after going to every conventional doctor I could find, including bone specialists, osteopathic doctors, and sports medicine specialists, none of whom could help me, I decided to try a chiropractor. After only one treatment, the pain I had been suffering for more than a year was 80% better, and with subsequent treatments, disappeared completely! The treatment was done by first taking x rays and other diagnostics and taking a complete medical history. Before the actual manipulation, the muscles were deeply relaxed by applying hot packs to the area for a period of time, and then, while the muscles were still warm and pliable, the various spinal adjustments were done by hand, in order to realign the spinal vertebrae. It was not painful at all, although the sound of the bones cracking was a little disturbing, although I have certainly come to appreciate that sound. I later came to discover a method by which I could adjust my own spine, after warming up first with exercise! I still use this method all the time, along with stretching, and it is extremely effective.
Presently there are more than 50,000 qualified chiropractic doctors all over the world, and interestingly, although Kuwait has officially recognized the Arabian and Iranian bone setters practicing at the present time, the Ministry of Health doesn’t recognize chiropractic medicine. It is hoped that this is something that will quickly change, and that Kuwait will work together with the world community to get up to speed with the rest of the world in this particular area.