COVID Did Not Panic Chiropractors. Why Not?
If you have been troubled by the rapidly declining claims for the efficacy of the COVID vaccines and boosters or by the rapidly rising reports of problems with the vaccines and the boosters, you might be interested to know how it came about that COVID did not panic chiropractors. It's a fascinating story, and I was privileged to learn it firsthand.
I enrolled in chiropractic college just in time to get a powerful lesson in one chapter of that amazing story. A contingent of students who had completely recovered from childhood polio under chiropractic care enrolled around the same time I did. They were in my class and in classes before and after my class. To hear their stories of what chiropractic adjustments had done for them became part of my chiropractic education. They helped me in another way, too: their conviction about the power of chiropractic adjustments helped me make the transition from a student to a doctor capable of meeting the enormous challenges of chiropractic practice. They were inspired and determined to be great chiropractors, and they inspired me, too.
The old-timers, just then passing out of the profession, had similar tales about an earlier epidemic. Chiropractic, officially born in 1895, was still very new, and there were few chiropractors when the Spanish Flu hit in 1918. But chiropractic adjustments worked for victims of the Spanish Flu just as they were later to do for polio victims. Medicine had little to offer, so people tried chiropractic, and those who did spread the word.
This is when political medicine discovered chiropractic and set out to strangle it in the crib. You have not read about chiropractic and polio, and you won't read about chiropractic and the Spanish Flu elsewhere, either, but I learned about it, as we say, from the horse's mouth. I met senior chiropractors who had gone to jail for practicing chiropractic, men whose sacrifices paved the way for the much easier path my classmates and I were to travel. All of those heroic pioneers I met were inspired by their personal knowledge of the complete recovery of victims of the Spanish Flu who were fortunate enough to be treated by chiropractors.
Chiropractic did not then and does not today have a treatment for the Spanish Flu or for polio. Chiropractic does not treat conditions. The aim of chiropractic is always the same — restoring the patient to health by means of chiropractic adjustments. The purpose of chiropractic adjustments is to enable the patient's natural healing response.
In my first year in practice, one of my patients showed up for his appointment in terrible anguish. He had just been told that his girlfriend had only hours to live. She was in a coma and in intensive care at the nearby hospital. I was listening to his outpouring of grief when he suddenly asked me if I thought I could help.
Later that day, an ambulance pulled up in front of my office. The young woman was brought into the office on a gurney. She was still in a coma. The ambulance attendants placed her on an adjusting table, her mother took a chair next to her in the treatment room, and my associate and I took turns adjusting her in between adjusting our regularly scheduled patients. We each adjusted her several times in the course of the day. The astonishing sight of a girl in a coma arriving in an ambulance was passed down by word of mouth in the reception room, so all the patients that afternoon knew the story.
When, toward the end of the day, she walked out of the treatment room, the waiting patients leaped to their feet, cheering and applauding. The next day, she came for a normal appointment, driven by her mother; the following day, she came on her own.
This was a great learning experience for me — it taught me a deep lesson in what we chiropractors refer to as chiropractic courage — but my greatest leap in understanding chiropractic happened when I was only a student. A profoundly accomplished doctor had generously invited me to "assist" him in his practice. I took patient histories, recorded exam findings, and made treatment records. Early on, I took the history of a terribly ill young woman who had recently been told by doctors at the Mayo Clinic that there was nothing that could be done for her, that she should get her affairs in order and prepare for the end of her life. She had originally set out on her path to many doctors and eventually the Mayo Clinic because of two hideous lesions, one in her upper arm and one in her buttock on the opposite side.
She was a blessing to me. I had been taught that chiropractors treat patients, not conditions, but I did not understand what that meant, not really. She taught me to understand what I had been taught.
After a period of care, I again took her history in preparation for her re-exam. The lesions were gone, replaced by a smooth, normal contour and new, pink skin — but that was not what struck me, and that was not what was important. Instead of the shockingly ill person I had first met, I was interviewing an attractive young woman with a vivacious personality. Chiropractic care had restored her to health. I understood then that her health, not the terrible lesions, had been the focus of her care all along.
Ask a chiropractor if he treats diabetes, and the doctor will no doubt tell you no. How about ulcers? No. Asthma? No again. What then do you treat, doctor? I treat patients — patients with diabetes, patients with ulcers, patients with asthma. But whether the patient's problem is great or small, the goal of the chiropractor is always the same: health restored, and restored by the perfectly natural method of chiropractic adjustments, without recourse to drugs or surgery.
And by the way, that method is American through and through. It was discovered and developed right here in America.
Robert Curry is the author of Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World and Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea. Both are published by Encounter Books.