Chiropractic is the manipulation of the spinal column as a means of curing disease. The word comes from the Greek chiro ("hands") and practic ("to practice"). The theory of chiropractic originated with D.D. Palmer, who was born in Port Perry (Ontario) in 1845. Palmer became a charismatic healer in Iowa and accidentally discovered chiropractic by adjusting a bump on the neck of his stone-deaf janitor. The janitor's hearing was restored immediately. Palmer began to look to the spine for solving further health problems and began to teach his theories and practices. The Palmer College of Chiropractic was established and promoted by Palmer's son, B.J. Palmer, who continued to research and develop the new healing art.
Chiropractors use neither drugs nor surgery; they base their treatment on the assumption that good health requires a properly functioning nervous system, beginning with the brain and including the spinal cord. Chiropractors believe that, because no part of the body escapes the dominance of the nervous system, spinal biomechanical dysfunction (ie, improper joint function at a specific point or points in the spinal column) may therefore result in poor health generally - even in areas of the body that have no obvious connection with the spine. The lightest pressure by a vertebra may interrupt regular transmission of nerve impulses, preventing that portion of the body from responding fully. A chiropractic spinal adjustment, the application of a precise force to the specific part of the spinal segment, is thought to correct a vertebral problem, permitting normal nerve transmission and recuperative capabilities. Medical doctors reject the theory but accept that spinal adjustment treatments are beneficial for some patients.
The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto offers a 4-year academic program with a prerequisite of 2 years of university education in a science field with a background in chemistry and physics.