A Brief History of Chiropractic

Dr Luke brings to you the potted history of Chiropractic…

bj_5-150x150 copyThe Origins of Chiropractic
Chiropractic in it’s modern guise has been around since 1895 when Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer recognised the significance of a specific spinal adjustment. It was he who developed the philosophy of chiropractic that now forms the basis of our profession.

D.D. Palmer, a Canadian who practiced magnetic healing in Burlington, USA, said:
“I am not the first person to replace subluxated vertebrae, but I do claim to be the first person to replace displaced vertebrae by using the spinous and transverse processes as levers…and to develop the philosophy and science of chiropractic adjustments.”

He is likely to be referring to the ancient healers of the world (Greeks and Egyptians) who understood the significance of proper spinal function and health.

First Chiropractic Adjustment
It was in 1895 when D.D. Palmer, while working in his office, happened upon a janitor, Mr Harvey Lillard. Palmer noticed that Lillard didn’t react to a loud fire truck as it went past near by. After attempting to make conversation Palmer realized that Lillard was in fact deaf.

After managing to converse with the man, Palmer was able to discern that the janitor used to have normal hearing but one day while lifting he felt a “pop” in his neck and had been deaf ever since.

DD PalmerPalmer deduced the two events were linked and asked to examine him. He found that a vertebra was not in it’s normal position and persuaded Lillard to let him replace it.

“I racked it into position by using the spinous process as a lever, and soon the man could hear as before.”

Following this event Palmer noted treating other people with wide and greatly varying problems, including sciatica, headaches, abdominal issues, heart disease and many more.

Science, Philosophy, Art Palmer revisited his studies of anatomy and physiology to learn more about the connections throughout the body between the spine, body and nervous system.

In 1898 he opened the Palmer School & Infirmary of Chiropractic and welcomed his first students to be taught the art, science and philosophy of what he now called Chiropractic (Chiro, Greek for “hand” and practice).

He realized spinal adjustments to correct vertebral misalignments, or subluxations, were eliminating the nerve interference causing the patients’ complaints.

After years of developing Chiropractic as a profession and surviving much criticism from different health care factions D.D. Palmer died in Los Angeles aged 68. He was survived by his son Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) who continued his life’s work and is widely credited for clearly defining chiropractic as a unique health care system and having Chiropractic recognised as a licensed profession.