Aching Backs

The other day someone mentioned to me (virtually, of course, since real conversation is limited to immediate family) that she was going to the chiropractor.  This simple spinal adjustment comment made me curious since my mother has used a chiropractor to manage back pain for as long as I can remember.  I also had heard many disparaging comments about chiropractors over the years and decided to look up some information.  Medical science, if we can hypostatize it that way, considers chiropractic a pseudoscience.  Part of the reason is that the medical training required to be a chiropractor doesn’t come up to the level of a MD degree.  The main reason, however, as far as I can determine, is that chiropractic was founded on the basis of receiving information from “the other world.”

Creator unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel David Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s.  His knowledge of how to do it came from a doctor dead for half a century.  Some of the tenets of chiropractic are spiritual rather than physical.  Not being based on empirical studies going back to such traditional medical ancestors like Galen, the new way of understanding medicine was labeled as a kind of religion—an alternative medicine.  Now, I’m not a medical person.  In fact I’m rather squeamish.  I try not to look too deeply into biology, but this is fascinating.  There are more than 70,000 chiropractors in the United States alone.  If what they are doing doesn’t really help people then why do they keep going back?  Is it a matter of believing that you’ve been helped relieving pain?

Often cost effectiveness is given as the reason people use chiropractors.  In these days of Covid-19 we know that medical practitioners have been on the front lines for many months.  We also know that in the United States many people can’t afford standard medical treatment.  Our government has staunchly refused to nationalize health care, as every other government in developed nations has done, preferring to keep it a free market.  The end result is many people simply can’t afford to go to the doctor.  I don’t know if chiropractic is a pseudoscience or not, but if it provides at least short-term relief for people who can’t afford standard treatment is this a bad thing?  I don’t know much about the topic, but the whole thing seems worthy of further exploration.  Any time the mind in brought in to help heal the body, I suspect, we are knocking on the door of religious thinking.

2 thoughts on “Aching Backs

  1. Hi Steve,

    One of my friends back in Florida, is an Osteopath/Chiropractor. I used to see him often. He knew a lot about human anatomy. All the nerves in the body begin through the spine and branch out in all directions. If your back is out of whack, your nerves get pinched in the spine, and therefore you would have pain or discomfort somewhere in your body.

    He had a temperature tool, he would run up and down my spine, taking the temperature along the length, he would mark these hot spots and then knew what to do. He would adjust according to the way my body presented itself, which always worked for me.

    Now in Montreal,

    my osteopath friend Alex, she is really good. I get there, take my shoes off and she says, walk across the room. Ok. She is so good that all she has to do is watch me walk, and she’s got a plan. She is very holistic. And she uses touch and adjustments to restore equilibrium in my system. She can spend 40 minutes working in silence. Any problem I have, I tell her and she goes right to the source and she always knows what to adjust, crack, or manipulate.

    She does wonders for my body, as I am edging into my mid 50’s now. And My back tends to be a pain in the ass more often than I like and with Pandemic I haven’t been able to see her in many months now. Hopefully soon I will get to see her when offices re-open.

    That’s my story for today.



    • Thanks for this, Jeremy. I tend to be more on the side of holism than strictly science. I think is chiropractors help people then we shouldn’t degrade them. There’s a reason I didn’t go into medicine!


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