Chiropractic: History & Education

Chiropractic History

The word Chiropractic comes from the Greek words, cheir (meaning hand) and the word praktos (meaning done) becoming done by hand. It was named by its founder Daniel David Palmer. DD Palmer was born in Port Perry, Ontario. He moved to the USA in 1865 where he practiced as a magnetic healer.

DD Palmer - Founder of ChiropracticChiropractic first began in 1895, when DD Palmer gave the first adjustment to a janitor name Harvey Lillard. As the story goes, Harvey had become deaf 17 years prior to his first adjustment after experiencing a pop in his back. DD Palmer provided an adjustment to Harvey’s upper back and found that it restored his hearing. This lead DD Palmer to begin the development of chiropractic and he opened the first chiropractic school in 1897. The school is still operating today as Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.

There were many politics involved in developing the profession of chiropractic. In the early 1900’s, many chiropractors were put in jail because chiropractic was a new and unlicensed profession. In 1913, Kansas became the first US state to recognize and license chiropractic. Alberta was the first province to license chiropractic in Canada in 1923. The Canton of Zurich was the first jurisdiction outside of North America to license chiropractic in 1939.

Chiropractic has come a long was since its humble beginning. Today, chiropractors are now one of the leading professions in the management of low back pain.  Currently, there are more than 8,400 licensed chiropractors practicing in Canada. Chiropractors are a primary contact health care profession. Chiropractors are evidence-informed neuromusculoskeletal experts providing diagnosis, treatment and preventative care of biomechanical disorders originating the muscles, joints and nervous system.


Chiropractic Education

There are currently two chiropractic colleges in Canada. The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) located in Toronto, ON and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), which are both recognized by the Chiropractic regulatory and educational bodies.

Chiropractic students must complete a rigorous 4-year, full-time accredited program to graduate chiropractic college. In addition, the students must first complete a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate studies. Chiropractic education consists of lectures, hands on labs and a one-year internship.

People are often surprised to discover that the education received at a chiropractic college is quite similar to the education received in medical school. Chiropractors receive more training in anatomy and physiology while physicians received more training in public health. Studies show that chiropractic students receive more training than their medical counterparts in the following areas: anatomy, neurology, diagnosis, x-ray and orthopedics.

For more information on chiropractic and medical school curriculums, click here.

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  1. Optimal Performance Health Care Center. Chiropractic and Medical school Comparison.
  2. Center for Studies in Health Policy, Inc., Washington, DC. Personal communication of 1995 unpublished data from Meredith Gonyea, PhD.

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