How Did Chiropractic Begin?

By Dr. Kevin Wafer

September 17, 2013

This week, chiropractic celebrates its 118th birthday.  In honor of its birthday I would like to give some insight into the first chiropractic adjustment and some of the early history regarding chiropractic.

In September 1895, D.D. Palmer, a teacher and magnetic healer, began a conversation with the janitor that maintained his office.  During this conversation, the janitor, Harvey Lillard, told Palmer that 17 years ago he had been working in a cramped space, hit his head and heard a loud pop in his back.  Ever since this incident, Lillard reported that he had been nearly deaf.  Upon examination, Palmer discovered that Lillard had a sore lump near his spine.  Palmer performed an adjustment to this area and Lillard reported an improvement in his hearing.

After this, Palmer would go on to research the spine and name the practice chiropractic, by combining two Greek words meaning “done by hand.” He would soon open the first chiropractic school in his home town of Davenport, Iowa.  Many of these first graduates were arrested and jailed for practicing medicine without a license.  One of the earliest graduates was Palmer’s son, B.J.  B.J. would later be known as “the Developer,” as he began to turn chiropractic into the profession we know today through his extensive research on the spine and how the adjustment affects the body.

Over last 100+ years, chiropractic has evolved into one of the largest health care professions in the world, and it would not be what it is today without the work of both D.D and B.J. Palmer.

Dr. Kevin Wafer

About the author

Dr. Kevin Wafer was born and raised in Spring, TX. Since his mother worked as a chiropractic assistant, he spent much of his childhood in a chiropractic clinic and was adjusted for the first time at only 3 months of age. Click Here To Read Full Bio

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