Chiropractic has its roots in the United States. During the latter part of the 19th Century the Germ Theory was not yet universally accepted and debate within medicine and health care was intense. Around the year 1895 Daniel David Palmer, based in Davenport, Iowa, launched “Chiropractic” as a concept of health and health care with treatment predominantly involving adjustments (spinal manipulative therapy/SMT) of the joints in the spinal column. In those early days chiropractic treatment was promoted as a panacea and chiropractors claimed results in treating a multitude of conditions and diseases.

Chiropractors and chiropractic centers of education were at first found in the United States but soon individuals from other countries, including Europeans, travelled there to be trained in the skills. These individuals in turn brought their knowledge and trade back to their countries of origin. The first chiropractic educational institution to be established in Europe was the Anglo European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth, which opened its doors in 1965.

During the second half of the twentieth Century the chiropractic profession and chiropractic education went through political changes and modernization. A number of countries carried out surveys and investigations with the result that chiropractic as complementary health care is now regulated in a number of developed countries predominantly in the western and Asian regions. Chiropractors are as a result in a continuing process of raising their standards of practice and are maturing as a profession.

Research into the disorders of the musculoskeletal system is constantly improving the understanding of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, how these conditions affect health, and how they can be prevented and are most effectively treated. Research into spinal manipulative therapy and the care provided by chiropractors has shown a steady increase in the last decades of the twentieth Century and up to the present. This research is shedding light on how the care provided by chiropractors fits into the greater picture.

The Chiropractic Profession in the UK 

Chiropractic as a degree is now taught at institutions of higher education, Colleges and Universities, in a number of countries in the European region. Chiropractic has since the passing of the Chiropractor’s Act 1994 been a regulated healthcare profession in the UK. The 4 year degree course resulting in the title chiropractor is taught at 3 Universities in the UK and all chiropractors are required to register with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) in order to uphold registration and ‘license’ to practice. Chiropractors trained abroad are required to pass a Test of Competence set up by the GCC and continuing professional development is mandatory for all registered chiropractors in order to retain registration. 

Although some of the original treatment techniques, albeit modified and improved, are still in use today, chiropractors are trained to approach the treatment of patients using a package of evidence-based care. The modern 21st Century chiropractor is expected to be able to provide current, evidence informed, effective, and safe treatment at a reasonable cost that is tailored to suit each individual patient and that patient’s health needs.