1895 to 2007 Marks 112 Years of Chiropractic Vocabulary

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

According to historical reports, September 18, 1895 is the day Daniel David Palmer gave the first chiropractic adjustment, which took place in Davenport Iowa. It was not long after that day that Palmer needed a name for his developing science. The Reverend Samuel Henry Weed, born in Indiana in 1843, is credited with creating the word chiropractic, around the time of January 1896. The word has its roots in the terms Cheir and Praxis.

Other terms that became popular within the space of this new healing science included innate and vertebral subluxation. Thanks to the Internet, in 2007 we have the ability to utilize software that can scan through millions upon millions of typed in search terms and discover their level of popularity. How does the vocabulary of this healing arts profession measure up?

The following comes from keyword research based on searches done in the United States over the past 90 days.

The term innate has a score of 22, while the term innate intelligence has a score of 16. Interestingly, the term in8 (such as used for in8chiropractic) also has a score of 16. The term subluxation has a score of 98. However, the most popular related term is shoulder subluxation (score of 19), considered by many to not be a chiropractic centered term. The term vertebral subluxation receives a score of 13, spinal subluxation receives a score of 10, and subluxation station, receives a score of eight. The last term represents a brand of product marketed to chiropractors.

While the numbers are miniscule I found it interesting that the following terms were being searched, which are listed here in the order of their current popularity: subluxation of the spine (8), subluxation prevention (5), phase 1 subluxation (4), eliminating subluxation (4).

Wondering if there would be any chiropractic related relationship, I performed a search for the term Palmer. The top results were for the term Robert Palmer, with a score of 2216. Robert Palmer is probably most famous for his song and MTV video titled Addicted To Love. Not surprisingly, after Robert we get Emerson Lake and Palmer (the music group known to many as ELP), with a score of 440. Not sure whether people are searching for golf legend or a mixture of iced tea and lemonade, but Arnold Palmer comes up in the results with a score of 139. I continued scanning through search results to see if I could locate anything remotely related to the founder of this hands-on healing art. Towards the bottom of the list was the phrase palmer college of chiropractic, with a score of 28. Looks like the college is currently receiving more search queries than the founder.

I decided to do a more specific searching to see if any results could be produced. The term Daniel David Palmer brought back a score of 6, while the terms DD Palmer and BJ Palmer brought back scores of zero, meaning no related searches were on record (below threshold). Getting even more specific and searching for the term B.J. Palmer resulted in a score of 14. I believe BJ said to always be as specific as possible.

While popularly used, but not exclusive to the practice chiropractic, I performed a search on the term adjustment. Top results included the term adjustment disorder, with a score of 69. The term cost of living adjustment, returned a score of 59. There was also the term adjustment disorder anxiety and depression, which produced a score of 26. The term chiropractic adjustment made it on the list with a score of 21. Notice that the term chiropractic adjustment receives about the same amount of searches as the term innate and a combination of the various subluxation terms.

While I haven’t seen it used in chiropractic vocabulary, the term adjustment disorder could potentially be applied to an individual who practices the art of therapeutics, disguised as the practice of chiropractic. Perhaps we’ll see an increasing popularity of adjustment disorder related phrases. How this could be used in a sentence… Chiropractic graduates who provide foot rubs while in clinic, rather than focusing on ones spine, are likely candidates for a condition known as adjustment disorder, and will often display symptoms of anxiety and depression after entering the field of chiropractic practice.

On September 18, 1895 that first spinal racking thrust was given. There have been numerous variations on the term, but the original term chiropractic, produces a score of 480. According to the results, it’s more popular than the term chiropractor, which makes the page with a score of 361. To see where these terms fair in the scope of other health-care discipline related terms, I performed some other searches. The term medicine scores at 3090. The term alternative medicine scores at 1063. The term herbal medicine scores at 379.

You may be surprised to find that the term massage comes in with a whopping score of 8448, with the most popular related term being prostate massage (2482) followed by breast massage (1592). As not to offend even more people, I won’t include some of the other top related massage terms appearing on the results list. Results for the term yoga are similar, with the root term resulting in a score of 3501, and the two most popular related terms being nude yoga (2539) and naked yoga (1499). While both the terms massage and yoga are outscoring terms such as medicine and chiropractic, a glimpse into the search results shows the obvious reasons why.

Internet search related research gives us a current snapshot of this profession’s terms and their popularity in the nation’s vocabulary. While not as popular as some doctors of chiropractic would like, the root term chiropractic (chi·ro·prac·tic) (ki”ro-prak´tik) is still TICking.

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