Over 100 years ago, chiropractic health care was founded by Dr. D.D. Palmer. He had a simple theory: that good health can be sustained naturally, often without the use of drugs or surgery, by removing vertebral subluxations and allowing the nervous system to function properly.

His theory has stood the test of time. This section will briefly explain how the theory was proven by taking you "behind the scenes," into the field of chiropractic research. *You may have noticed, if you have perused other parts of this web site, that much of the text is littered with a sizable amount of literature citations, supporting chiropractic.

1895–Present: Scientifically Proven

Since the first chiropractic adjustment in 1895, the chiropractic profession has rapidly grown to be the third-largest field of health care behind medicine and dentistry. The reason for the growth of chiropractic is simple: chiropractic is based on sound, scientific principles that have been proven with thorough research.

Investigations and inquiries have been conducted worldwide by government agencies, universities, health-care facilities, and private- and public-sector research organizations. The following paragraphs summarize some of the landmark research studies that have resulted in widespread recognition of chiropractic as a sound health-care choice.

Government of New Zealand. The New Zealand Commission Report was published in 1979 and was the culmination of two years of interviews from health-care experts on the efficacy and safety of chiropractic. The government of New Zealand funded the study, which concluded that modern chiropractic is a "soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area."

Wilk, et al, vs. American Medical Association (AMA) Lawsuit. Another inquiry that further validated chiropractic came about in 1987 through an antitrust suit filed by four doctors of chiropractic against the AMA. A federal appellate court judge ruled that the AMA had engaged in a "lengthy, systematic, successful, and unlawful boycott" of chiropractic.

During the legal proceedings, studies comparing chiropractic care to medical care were presented that showed how chiropractors were “twice as effective as medical physicians, for comparable injuries, in returning injured workers to work at every level of injury severity.”

Since the court findings and conclusions were released, a growing number of medical practices, hospitals, and health-care organizations in the United States now include the services of chiropractors.

Ontario Ministry of Health. In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Health published the Manga Report, which was a review of literature on the most effective and cost-effective treatments for of low-back pain. After reviewing all available international evidence, the researchers concluded that chiropractic is “greatly superior to medical treatment in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction.”

Present-Future: Ongoing Research

Health-care practitioners in all fields rely heavily upon data made available as a result of clinical research. As the chiropractic profession continues to grow, so does our need to conduct research. The acceptance of and the increase in the utilization of chiropractic care depends largely upon research addressing questions of effectiveness, safety, practicality, and cost-effectiveness.

Who does the research?

The following is just a sampling of organizations, publications, and private and public institutions where chiropractic research may be conducted.

There are entire organizations devoted to chiropractic research (e.g., the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, the Consortial Center of Chiropractic Research), as well as journals (e.g., the Chiropractic Research Journal, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research).

In addition, there are research departments associated with each of the 23 chiropractic colleges around the world (e.g., the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, the National University of Health Sciences). Professionals from different organizations commonly collaborate on research projects.

Research has also been conducted around the world by governmental organizations (e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Ontario Ministry of Health), academic institutions (e.g., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Welsh National School of Medicine), medical journals (e.g., the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Family Practice), and private research organizations (e.g., RAND, the Gallup Organization).

What do they study?

Topics of research vary widely and include anatomy, neurology, biomechanics, neurophysiology, instrumentation, public health, geriatrics, and human performance. The fundamental goals of the researchers are to promote and further chiropractic education and health care.

In Conclusion

The purpose of chiropractic research has been (and still is) to provide information needed to document and improve chiropractic health care worldwide. Our profession has seen advances once thought impossible due to the impact of scientific research.

For example, federal grants for chiropractic research are now a reality. The Department of Defense formed a committee to introduce chiropractic services into the United States military. Several managed-care organizations now recognize us as qualified primary-care providers. And there is an ever-growing public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic care.

Feel free to do your own research — at work, at school, at your health club or rec center. Ask around. You will hear countless success stories on how chiropractic has helped people recover from an accident, an injury, a tense period in their life, etc., or how chiropractic has helped them develop new, healthier lifestyle habits.

Collect more data by making an appointment with us today. You will be pleased with the results.

Chiropractic is now firmly established as a primary health-care profession where, according to the American Chiropractic Association, approximately 7 to 16 percent of people in the United Stated seek treatment each year. Our profession has earned recognition for its remarkable effectiveness and its focus on natural, drug-free, non-invasive methods of treatment. This section summarizes the effectiveness of chiropractic for some of the conditions we treat.

General Lower-Back Pain

Approximately 25% of our patients come to us with a chief complaint of low-back/pelvic pain or discomfort. This pain can be brought on by an accident, overuse, repetitive stress, emotional stress, or just everyday living.

Several studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of spinal manipulation as a treatment for lower-back pain in general. One of these involved three chiropractic colleges in California, where researchers reported that "the trend for spinal manipulation to produce better results than any form of treatment to which it was compared was consistent and strong." For 86% of the outcomes, spinal manipulation was more effective than any other treatment rendered for lower-back pain.

Additional studies conducted both in and out of the United States yielded similar results, where patients reportedly recovered at a more rapid rate, had fewer relapses, and gained a new sense of confidence in their movement. Still more investigations have been conducted on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for two sub-categories of lower-back pain: acute and chronic.

Orthopedic: Interestingly, articles have been emerging showing the damage done by "advanced" spinal surgery. In an article titled “The Fallacy of Spinal Surgery” by B M Luklinski, the issue of spinal surgery is harshly criticized. He quotes extensively from famed orthopedist, Alf Nachemson in this article. For example, in the U.S., which "has the lowest level of spinal care and skill," 650,000 operations (250,000 lumbar) are performed yearly earning over $3.5 Billion for the orthopedic surgeons and hospitals that do the work. This results in "hundreds of thousands" of permanent life-long disabilities which themselves need further and continuous pain management and support care. According to Nachemson, "99% of all spinal disorders are curable non-invasively through established procedures." "Spinal surgery should be confined to 0.3 - 0.5% of the back pain cases only." Nachemson and Luklinski go on to state that in their opinion, 99% of all spinal disorders are mechanical in origin and therefore the only truly effective therapeusis is manual therapy.

There’s More: It is generally thought that about 3 of 10 Americans seek care for their backs each year. 8 of every 10 Americans will eventually see a doctor for back pain at some time in their lives. Research Company A.M. Best estimates that 6.5 million people are at home right now as you read this article because of low back pain. Recovery generally takes between 4-8 weeks and this all comes out to over 100 million lost work days each year. In another part of this web site we cited the figure of $100 BILLION (!) as the cost to this country in low back pain expenditures which includes Worker’s compensation, insurance payouts etc.
The New England Journal of Medicine (318:291-300, 1988) said that the figure is well over $100 BILLION. And that was 20 years ago!!!! CBS News estimates there are 80,000 UNNECESSARY spinal surgeries done each year in the U.S. which seems conservative compared to Nachemson's figure.

Acute Lower-Back Pain

In another study published in 1994 by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centerand the Jefferson County (Missouri) Rehabilitation Center, it was concluded that greater and more rapid improvement occurred when treated using exercises and spinal adjustment for acute low-back pain.

A third study conducted by the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and the University of Vermont was published in 1992. These researchers reported that spinal adjustment, when compared to other methods of treatment for acute lower-back pain (massage, corset, and TMS), proved to be a "superior," more effective treatment after three weeks of care. Also, this recent and interesting study came in;

1) Cohen, SP, Griffith, S., Larkin, TM,, “Presentation, diagnosis, mechanisms of injury and treatment of soldiers injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom: an epidemiological study conducted at two military management centers”, Anaesthesia & Analgesia 2005; 101: 1098-1103.The Upshot here is that back pain is a leading complaint among injured military personnel.

Chronic Lower-Back Pain

In 1997, the Dutch Health Insurance Board funded an investigation that summarized the results of 48 separate studies on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for chronic lower-back pain. The investigation determined that spinal adjustment is more effective than treatments suggested by general practitioners (bed rest, analgesics, and massage).

Two similar studies conducted in Canada in 1985 (University Hospital in Saskatoon) and 1991 (University of Calgary), plus a third study conducted in Poland in 1986 (Silesian Medical School), produced results similar to the Dutch investigation.

The following two remarkable studies found that chiropractic care was generally more effective than either acupuncture or medical care for chronic spinal pain. These two are perhaps the most persuasive ever published to demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care for chronic spinal pain and they were published in prestigious journals by chiropractors:

1) Giles, LGF, Muller R; Chronic Spine Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Medication, Acupuncture and Spinal Manipulation, SPINE 28 (14): 1490-1502,1503.

2) Muller R, Giles LG; Long-term Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Medication, Acupuncture and Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Mechanical Spinal Pain Syndromes, Journ. Manip.  Physiol. Ther., 2005 28 (1): 3-11.

Neck Pain

Approximately 70% of our patients come to us with complaints of neck pain or discomfort. This pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an accident, injury, overuse, etc. The most common neck condition we address is whiplash.

Studies on Effectiveness

The efficacy of chiropractic for neck pain has been well documented in numerous studies conducted in the United States, Canada, Wales, and the Netherlands. In a joint U.S./Canadian study published in 1996, researchers from UCLA, the West LA Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and two chiropractic colleges found that for some patients with sub-acute or chronic neck pain, spinal adjustment proved to be a more effective treatment than mobilization or physical therapy.

In a study conducted by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto in 1997, researchers found spinal adjustments to improve neck mobility and decrease neck pain. An additional Canadian investigation published in 1997 by the University of Calgary found spinal adjustments to improve neck mobility and decrease neck pain in patients having back and/or neck complaints.

General practitioners in private practice at the Welsh National School of Medicine conducted a study of the efficacy of spinal adjustment in alleviating neck and shoulder pain. The results, published in 1983, indicated that pain and discomfort improved significantly after adjustment, as well as range of motion and flexibility of the affected areas.

A 1992 Netherlands study conducted by doctors of medicine and other professionals investigated different methods of treatment for patients with chronic back and neck pain. After 12 weeks of care, manual therapy (which consisted of adjustment and mobilization of the spine) had showed a "faster and larger improvement in physical functioning" relative to the other types of treatment such as massage, exercises, and physical therapy.

In a brand new study as of 2007, authors H Haavik-Taylor and B Murphy concluded that cervical spine (neck) manipulation by chiropractors actually alters somatosensory evoked potentials in the study group. What this means is that manipulation of the cervical spine actually directly affects the cortical brain causing plastic changes. Which is what we have been saying for decades. Cited at: Haavik-Taylor H, Murphy B, “Cervical Spine Manipulation Alters Sensormotor Integration: A Somatosensory Evoked Potential Study”, Cli Neurophys, 2/2007, 118 (2): 391-402.

Head Pain

Headaches, both tension and migraine, are the chief complaint for approximately 13% of our patients. Before you reach for your pain-reliever of choice the next time a headache or migraine sneaks up on you, consider the following information on the efficacy of chiropractic care for head pain.

In a 1995 study conducted in Minnesota, the effectiveness of spinal adjustment relative to the administration of an antidepressant drug (amitriptyline) for patients with chronic tension-type headaches was investigated. The researchers included doctors of chiropractic, a doctor of medicine, and another professionals from Northwestern College of Chiropractic and the Pain Assessment and Rehabilitation Center, Ltd. They determined that, after four weeks of treatment, patients receiving spinal adjustment therapy experienced a continued lack of symptoms, whereas patients taking the medication returned to original, baseline conditions.

Another study, published in 1997 by doctors of medicine and doctors of chiropractic at the University of Odense and the Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and Clinical Biomechanics in Denmark, compared spinal adjustment and soft tissue therapy for the treatment of benign, chronic headaches. They found that both methods of therapy allowed for significant improvement, and there were no side effects or signs of worsening associated with either method.


The Sympathetic nerves are a group of nerves that emerge from the spine and group together in what are called "ganglia" literally on the vertebrae like vines. These nerves are also, and more officially called the "autonomic" nerves. These nerves control aspects of our physiology automatically, without us having to think about it such as heart rate, breathing, blood flow, sweating etc. Another phrase used to describe these nerves are the "fight or flight" nerves. This refers to a scenario where, for example, you are surrounded by 3 or 4 thugs at night and they are planning to steal your money or worse. Your body undergoes changes that you cannot control: heart rate increases, breathing increases, your eyes dilate, your mouth goes dry, certain organ systems temporarily shut down such as the digestive system and urinary system and the blood from your gut is shunted to your arms and legs, adrenalin is kicked out of your adrenal glands for more strength. You will either fight these people or take flight and run as fast as possible. Your body will remain in this heightened state of alertness for several minutes. It can be thus said that these changes happen because your system is "sympathetic" to your needs. Hence the term that lingers to this day. So, let's see how this all relates to chiropractors . . .

The legend of "modern" chiropractic began with a deaf janitor whose hearing was restored with a chiropractic adjustment. There was an unusual case in 1991 (Gilman, G, Bergstrand, J, “Visual Recovery following Chiropractic Intervention”, J of Beh. Optometry, Vol. 1, 1990) involving an elderly man who fell and lost his eyesight. Later, after chiropractic care, his vision returned to normal after all other traditional medical therapies had been tried. In the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) a recent article came out showing the effect that chiropractic adjustments have on heart rate (Zhang, J, Dean, D, “Effect of Chiropractic Care on Heart Rate Variability and Pain in a Multisite Clinical Study”, (JMPT Vol. 29 (4), 267- 274, May, 2006). Clearly, there is yet another connection with chiropractic care and the nerves that govern many aspects of our physiology (sympathetics) that we have little to no conscious control over. Specifically, adjustments to the spine directly affect the amplitude of these sympathetic nerves and causes changes in their functioning. See also; Budgell B, Polus, B, “The Effects of Thoracic Manipulation on Heart Rate Variability: A Controlled Crossover Study”, JMPT 29 (8), 603-610, Oct. 2006.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

With a large percentage of the population using keyboards either at work or at home, CTS is becoming increasingly common. CTS is a condition where there is a disturbance of nerve function in the wrist. Because it is a neurological issue, we are treating more and more patients of all ages suffering from this malady.

One study, published in 1998 and conducted by researchers from the Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minnesota, compared chiropractic treatment of CTS to conservative medical treatment. The chiropractic treatment included manipulation, ultrasound treatment, and wrist supports, while the medical group received an anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen) and wore wrist supports. They found that both methods of treatment proved to be equally effective and recommended that patients with CTS who are sensitive to medical side effects pursue chiropractic for treatment.
See-Davis, A.F., “A Functional Approach to Medial Nerve Entrapment: A Case Report”, JACA, Vol. 41, #11, November, 2004.


Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic pain in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints, fatigue, and tenderness at specific sites in the body. While the cause is unknown, an estimated 3 million people are affected in the United States. Because we offer a conservative, hands-on approach to health care, some patients suffering from fibromyalgia are supplementing their medical care with chiropractic care.

In 1997, a study was conducted by three Canadian chiropractors on the effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients with fibromyalgia. They reported significant improvement in flexibility and reduction of pain levels and recommended that this type of treatment be included along with medical treatments for this condition.

Infantile Colic

Colic is a condition that occurs in early infancy and is characterized by episodes of loud crying, apparent abdominal pain, and irritability. Unfortunately, it is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of babies in the United States and lasts from about 2-3 weeks of age until 3-4 months. While the causes of colic are not always known or understood, parents of children exhibiting symptoms of colic are seeking help from chiropractors because of its effectiveness in reducing the severity of the symptoms.

One study that documents the efficacy of chiropractic for treating infantile colic was conducted in 1989 by a doctor of medicine and doctors of chiropractic at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Great Britain. Researchers reported that 94% of infants with colic appeared to be helped by spinal manipulation within 14 days of the start of treatment. The babies tended to have both fewer episodes of crying and shorter crying spells.

Another study, this one conducted in 1999 in Denmark, investigated two infant groups: one that was treated with spinal manipulation, and another that was treated with an over-the-counter antacid medication (dimethicone). After two weeks, the group treated with spinal manipulation exhibited a 67% drop in daily hours of crying, while the dimethicone group experienced a 38% drop.

Just a sampling

In summary, the above-referenced studies indicate chiropractic is effective for head, neck, and back pain, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and infantile colic. It is important to note that the conditions discussed in this section are not the only conditions we treat— this has simply been a sampling of studies that have been conducted to determine the efficacy of chiropractic. Bear in mind that this entire web site is loaded with cited research articles supporting what chiropractors do in practice. Our scope of practice extends well beyond the above maladies, and we will help you determine if chiropractic care will be an effective means of treating your particular condition.