Chiropractic History

Hippocrates once said, "Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases."

As the years have gone by, it seems that there are many benefits to a healthy spine.  Some of them are:

  • decreased pain and spasm
  • increased spinal mobility
  • muscle relaxation
  • increased energy, increased blood flow (healing nutrients)
  • balanced or restored nerve flow (healing energy)
  • an overall feeling of wellness


Definition of Chiropractic

Chiropractic History...

Modern chiropractic medicine began in 1895 when D.D. Palmer, a self-educated teacher and healer, performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient.  That patient was Harvey Lillard, a janitor who worked in Palmer's building.  Lillard was nearly deaf and mentioned to Palmer that he lost his hearing many years ago when he bent over and felt a "pop" in his upper back.  Palmer was quite knowledgeable in anatomy in very interested in how the spine interacts with the rest of the body's systems.  He felt strongly that the two events- the "popping" and his deafness - must somehow be related.  He examined Lillard's spine and found that one of his vertebra was misaligned.  After applying slight pressure, Palmer returned Lillard's vertebra to the correct position and an amazing event occurred - Lillard's hearing was restored!  This procedure has become known as the first chiropractic readjustment.  Read More

Palmer soon discovered that spinal adjustments could correct misaligned vertebra, eliminate nerve interference and relieve patient's pain.  These misaligned vertebrae have been classified as chiropractic subluxations (versus allopathic subluxations).  He began to use these "hand treatments" to treat a variety of ailments including sciatica, migraines, stomach complaints, epilepsy, and heart trouble.  In 1898, he opened Palmer School and Infirmary of Chiropractic and began teaching his techniques to others.

The medical community did not immediately embrace Palmer's chiropractic theories and techniques.  At one point, Palmer was indicted for practicing without a license and spent time in jail.

While Palmer did not live to see his discoveries become accepted by the medical community, his son B.J. Palmer, carried on his father's devotion and advanced the practice of chiropractic by getting it recognized as a licensed profession and establishing the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.

Today, chiropractors are licensed in every state with over 50,000 practicing chiropractors in this country alone.  Chiropractic medicine continues to gain wide acceptance by the medical, legal and patient communities.

While the practice of chiropractic has come a long way since the beginning.  Its basic philosophies remain the same: the nervous system is involved in all bodily functions and a healthy nervous system, particularly a healthy spine, is one of the major keys to wellness.  Spinal misalignment can cause interference in this delicate communications system and increases the risk of disease and other health problems.  Only by diagnosing and eliminating this interference, can health be restored.


Chiropractor adjusting patient

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