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History

Background on Chiropractic

Over 100 years ago, D.D. Palmer (the Founder of chiropractic and Palmer College of Chiropractic) had a “big idea” — the idea that good health can be sustained naturally, without drugs or surgery, through chiropractic care. Today, chiropractic is the third largest licensed health care profession.
 
Chiropractors use natural, drugless, non-surgical health care and rely on the body’s ability to heal itself. Like other health practitioners, chiropractors follow a standard routine to secure the information needed to determine how to care for their patients. They take the patient’s medical history, conduct physical, neurological and orthopedic examinations, and may order X-rays.
 
The first recorded chiropractic adjustment was performed on September 18, 1895, more than 100 years ago, by Dr. Daniel David Palmer, a teacher and healer who was born in Port Perry, Ontario. At the time, Dr. Palmer was trying to understand the cause and effect of disease. The patient, Harvey Lillard, was a janitor working in the same building as Dr. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa. Mr. Lillard had been bent over under the stairs, hurt his back and had complained of hearing problems as a result for over 17 years. He allowed Dr. Palmer to examine his spine to see if anything could be done. Dr. Palmer discovered a “lump” on Mr. Lillard’s back and suspected that a vertebra might be out of “alignment” and “pinching” a nerve going to Mr. Lillard’s ears. With an admittedly unrefined chiropractic technique, Dr. Palmer adjusted the vertebra with a gentle thrust. After several such treatments, much of Mr. Lillard’s hearing was restored.
 
One of Dr. Palmer’s patients, a minister, is credited with creating the name “Chiropractic” for this new art and science of manipulation. He took the Greek words for “hand” (cheiros) and “done by” (praktos) and put them together to create Chiropractic, meaning “done by hand.”
 
Without the leadership of the founder’s son, Dr. Bartlett Joshua (BJ) Palmer, chiropractic might not have survived.
 
But survive it did. Chiropractic has rapidly grown to be third only to medicine and dentistry as the largest primary health care provider in the western world. The original Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa grew from 24 students in 1906 to 3,100 in 1923. Today, there are more than 23 chiropractic institutions throughout the world, including colleges in Canada (Toronto, Trois Rivieres), the United States, Australia, Japan, and England. Current enrollment at chiropractic institutions now exceeds 10,000 enthusiastic and dedicated students.
 
Since Dr. Palmer’s first chiropractic adjustment, the art and science of chiropractic has progressed significantly. Today, advanced diagnostic procedures, sophisticated equipment, scientific research and the growing acceptance among patients, governments, and health care professionals make chiropractic a popular health care choice.