While working in a shipyard during World War II, Robert Harold Harmon was struck in the back by a section of steel bulkhead. It knocked his spine out of line as thoroughly as a right-angle collision would distort the frame of an automobile that was struck from the side.
“.. . some of the best Houston medical men in one of the leading hospitals told him that he would never be able to lift more than 25 pounds.” Harmon himself said, “. . . they told me I was one-hundred per cent disabled, a cripple for the rest of my life.”
Harmon’s back, from his shoulders to the base of his spine, was fitted with “cumbersome braces and irksome supports” which gave him “only slight help.” He believed himself doomed “to totter through life, pain wracked and bitter.”
Then the medical doctors made a final suggestion.
According to Harmon: “They wanted to lay my back wide open. You may or may not improve, they said.”
Friends advised Harmon to try a chiropractor. This was in 1948. Harmon didn’t think much of the idea: “I never had any faith in chiropractors,” he said.
But he went to a chiropractor, just the same. The man took several X rays and told Harmon that “practically the entire length of his back was misaligned.” He began adjustments.
“Within two weeks’ time I was able to discard the brace,” Harmon said in 1949. “Within two months, I was practically healed and I have never worn the brace since then. I still have minor pains, but I believe if I had gone to a chiropractor in the beginning, I would be without any difficulty today.” He bent his better than six-foot height and easily touched his finger tips to the floor. “I can tackle anything from a cup to a refrigerator,” he said. “I told that chiropractor that he’d have to prove it to mehe did!”
Low-Back Syndrome (complex of symptoms): In the latter part of 1947, the Research Council of the New York State Chiropractic Society undertook a survey of the problem of low-back pain. Data sought included age, sex, occupation, location of patient’s pain, etiology, previous diagnosis and treatment, chiropractic analysis, number of adjustments, and the length of time under chiropractic care.
Four hundred and eighty-one cases were reported. Of these, 327 were males and 154 females. Their occupations included plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, machinist, mason, painter, plasterer, upholsterer, housewife, tailor, boilermaker, brewer, welder, and other classifications where occupational hazards are great. There were a few professional persons such as accountants, architects, clergymen, pharmacists, physicians, teachers, attorneys, and dentists.
The average number of adjustments required per patient was 10.5, with 47 patients requiring only one adjustment and one requiring 160. Three hundred and forty-nine of the patients (72 per cent) recovered completely under chiropractic, 100 or 21 per cent showed improvement, while only 32 or seven per cent showed no improvement. (Source: The New York State Chiropractic Journal, December, 1948. X rays of the above-mentioned patients before and after treatment are available.)
Following are some of the case histories:
E.G. Female, age 38, housewife. Experienced frequent attacks of right-sided sciatica over a period of 10 years, apparently caused by a severe fall. Previous care: medical and osteopathic. Patient had been bed-ridden for three months at the time the chiropractor was consulted. X-rays were taken and revealed a right sacroiliac slip, with pronounced body distortion toward the head. In one month, after 12 adjustments, the patient was symptom free.
W.F. Male, age 34, clerical worker. Upon arising one morning, was seized with acute low-back pain. The symptoms seemed to increase in severity until the patient was so completely incapacitated that he was unable to work for a period of six months. A number of physicians were consulted, each one attempting a different mode of treatment, but with negligible results. X-rays taken by a chiropractor revealed compensatory scoliosis with a pronounced pelvic list and antero-inferiority of the sacrum. After two weeks of daily adjustment, the patient was completely relieved, whereupon he resumed his occupation. He received 15 adjustments in all within 21 days. When the chiropractor saw the patient some two years later, the latter reported that there had been no recurrence of either pain or disability.
M.S. Male, age 41, certified public accountant. Experienced acute left sciatic pain following trauma encountered while doing physical exercises. Physician was consulted, and lower back was strapped with adhesive. After several weeks of pain, the patient consulted an orthopedic surgeon and was hospitalized. A plaster cast was applied for a period of 17 days, followed by daily diathermy routine. The sciatic pain seemed to persist, and the discouraged patient asked for discharge from the hospital. A chiropractor was consulted. Initial roentgenograms in the upright position showed a badly tipped pelvis with a right leg deficiency of three-fourths of an inch. Patient was completely symptom free after two months of chiropractic (adjustments daily).
H.S. Male, age 52, a surgeon. Referred to a chiropractor by a colleague. Gave a history of intermittent attacks of low-back disability ranging over a period of 14 years. Etiology was uncertain. Routine orthopedic care and and physiotherapy had given no relief.
The patient complained of severe pain radiating into the left groin and was unable to stand erect, evidencing marked muscle spasm in the left erector group. X-rays revealed a left rotatory scoliosis, asymmetry of the lumbo-sacral facets, right pelvic sway, and a slight lipping of the bodies of the fourth and fifth lumbar bodies. The patient was adjusted daily for eight days and was completely free from pain at the end of that period. He was able to resume his occupation after the third adjustment. During three succeeding years, there was one slight recurrence, which was corrected by a single adjustment.
The 42 chiropractors who reported in this survey stated that when cases were detected involving actual disease of the bones, spinal-cord tumors, malignancies, and degenerative diseases of bone and adjacent structures, the patients were referred to medical doctors and orthopedic surgeons. “The services of the neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist, and other specialists are oft times indicated,” the report noted. This would seem to give the lie to charges that chiropractors attempt to “cure everything.”
Herniated Disc: (slipped disc) Field Survey Data Number of cases: 1030 Male: 772 Female: 258 Average age: 32.6 years
Youngest: 15 years Oldest: 86 years Duration of condition: Average-4.5 years
Shortest1 day Length of chiropractic care:
Number having previous chiropractic care: 280 Medical: 858
Summary Number %
Recovered 513 49.8 Much improved 396 38.4 Some improvement 81 7.9 No improvement 36 3.5 Worse 4 .4 Total number well or some improvement990 of Total-96.1%
Youngest: 9 years Oldest: 79 years Duration of condition: Average6.5 years
Shortest1 day Length of chiropractic care:
Number having previous chiropractic care: 475
Medical: 1358 Number %
Recovered 983 53.6 Much improved 619 33.7 Some improvemen 147 8.0 No improvement 76 4.2 Worse 10 .5
Total number well or some improvement1749 of Total95.3%
Research has verified the viscero-spinal principle that nerve irritation at the spine may lead to a disturbance of one or more internal organs of the body. This explains the effectiveness of chiropractic in dealing with the following conditions :
Gall-Bladder Disturbance: Mrs. M. K. of Ontario, Canada, suffered from a gall-bladder condition (so diagnosed .by medical doctors) for 35 years. She experienced “terrible pains” in the “intestinal region,” under the shoulder, and through the back. Numerous medical doctors succeeded in giving her only “temporary relief.” Then she went to a chiropractor, al-though she wondered how he could help her “without medicine or another operation.” After three months of adjustment she felt “like a new woman.”
Stomach Ulcers: J. L. of Salt Lake City, Utah, was under medical care for ulcers of the stomach “off and on for 10 years.” The various medicines and diets prescribed sometimes brought temporary relief. Most of the medical doctors this patient visited recommended surgery. He finally went to a chiropractor, and subsequently wrote: “Shortly after I began taking adjustments, I was delighted to find that I could eat all kinds of food without distress and could forget about diets.”
Stomach Ulcers: Field Survey Data
Number of cases: 167 Male: 134 Female: 33 Average age: 44.4 years
Youngest : 16 years Oldest : 79 years Duration of condition: Average7.3 years
Shortest8 days Length of chiropractic care:
Number having previous chiropractic care: 32 Medical: 161
Chiropractic in Visceral and Lower-Body Ills
Summary Number %
Recovered 62 37.1 Much improved 72 43.1 Some improvemen 22 13.2 No improvement 10 6.0 Worse 1 .6
Total number well or some improvement-156 of Total93.4%