Discussion  – Chiropractic

Chiropractic Versus the American Medical Association

Read the following article: 

https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/chiropractics-fight-survival/2011-06Links to an external site.

To what extent did the American Medical Association go to destroy the reputation of chiropractic?  How did the chiropractic profession survive these attacks?  How “accepted” do you feel chiropractic is today?  Did other professions go through similar abuse from the medical association? What is the American Medical Association’s perspective/viewpoint?

The American Medical Association (AMA) went to great lengths to destroy the reputation of the chiropractic profession. From the start of chiropractic medicine, the AMA made claims that chiropractors had no scientific basis or license. Other professions such as osteopaths were deemed as unorthodox medical professions by the AMA and slowly died off during this period. The creator of the first chiropractic school, Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1897,  D. Palmer went through several efforts to combat this notion that chiropractors had no education or scientific basis. However, D. Palmer landed in jail after the first osteopath elected to Wisconsin’s board of medical examiners pushed for D. Palmers arrest. According to the article, “Records exposed during the discovery phase of the Chester C. A. Wilk et al. v. AMA et al. case showed that medical doctors were encouraged by the AMA to accuse chiropractors of ethical violations” (Agocs, 2011). So, the AMA also was involved in encouraging doctors to accuse chiropractors of violations.



During this point there was no license that chiropractors could acquire in order to practice ethically according to the AMA. In 1913 Kansas became the first state to create a chiropractic board and the AMA was still working to ruin chiropractic reputations in the media. “AMA writers ghostwrote television and movie scripts, as well as Ann Landers’ widely read newspaper column and any other media outlet that could be used to tarnish the reputation of chiropractic in the public eye.” (Agocs, 2011) Chiropractors continued to fight these obstacles until the tension subsided years after 1987 when United States District Judge Susan Getzendanner found the AMA and its codefendants guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Currently, there is still some uncertainty in going to a chiropractor in many Americans. In a study on Public Perceptions of Doctor of Chiropractic, “Most (61.4%) respondents believed that chiropractic care was effective at treating neck and back pain, 52.6% thought DCs were trustworthy, and 24.2% thought chiropractic care was dangerous”(Weeks et al., 2015). However, I believe over time the perceptions of chiropractors will improves and more Americans will resort to Chiropractic medicine.


Agocs, S. (2011, June 1). Chiropractic’s fight for survival. Journal of Ethics | American Medical Association. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/chiropractics-fight-survival/2011-06Links to an external site.

Weeks, W. B., Goertz, C. M., Meeker, W. C., & Marchiori, D. M. (2015). Public Perceptions of Doctors of Chiropractic: Results of a National Survey and Examination of Variation According to Respondents’ Likelihood to Use Chiropractic, Experience With Chiropractic, and Chiropractic Supply in Local Health Care Markets. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 38(8), 533–544. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2015.08.001Links to an external site.

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