Chiropractic History

Though chiropractic as a healthcare profession has only been formally known as such since 1895, many ancient and historical figures have been quoted stating the significance and the correlation of a properly aligned spinal column and functioning nervous system. Thomas Edison wrote, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Another notable figure, Hippocrates wrote, “It is most necessary to know the nature of the spine. One or more vertebrae may or may not go out of place very much and if they do, they are likely to produce serious complications and even death, if not properly adjusted. Many diseases are related to the spine.”

DD Palmer As a healthcare option, the origins of chiropractic care can be dated back to 1895 in Davenport, Iowa where a man named Daniel David Palmer, a magnetic healer, first utilized the manual technique that he would later term “Chiropractic,” from the Greek words “Chiro”- meaning hand and “practic”- meaning practice or operation.

Harvey LillardD.D. Palmer met a janitor named Harvey Lillard, who explained through a tedious communication project, that while bending over and lifting, he had felt a “pop” and soon after lost all normal hearing function. D.D. hypothesized that there was a correlation between the two incidents, and persuaded Mr. Lillard to allow him to palpate his spine. D.D. located a misaligned spinal vertebra, and by using the spinous process as a lever, repositioned the subluxation, or partially dislocated vertebrae. Soon after this procedure, Harvey Lillard’s hearing began to restore to normal levels.

BJ PalmerPalmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua, or B.J., continued his father’s quest to perfect chiropractic care. B.J. is credited with creating chiropractic care as a separate and distinct healthcare option. B.J. and his wife Mabel continued what D.D. had begun, advancing what was now the Palmer College of Chiropractic, and also were instrumental in getting chiropractic recognized as a licensed profession.

Since the days of D.D. and B.J., the chiropractic profession has grown tremendously, and continues to make large strides within the large and dense healthcare field. Though growing more and more everyday, the same basic tenets and understanding of chiropractic care as a drug-free method of correcting vertebral subluxations in order to remove nerve interference still stand.