The Beginning – D.D. Palmer
It all started in the late 1800s with a simple attempt to move a misaligned vertebra back into place. Daniel David (D. D.) Palmer, a magnetic healer, was the person who realized and documented the connection of the misaligned vertebra causing a loss of health. Palmer is credited with starting and naming this new profession chiropractic.
Historic First Adjustment 1895
Let’s go back in time to Davenport, Iowa, in 1878. Here we find a janitor named Harvey Lillard working in a stooped, cramped position. He felt something “pop” in his neck. A few days later his hearing was gone. Seventeen years passed in silence. Then, on September 18, 1895, Lillard related his story to Daniel David Palmer, a magnetic healer who practiced in the Ryan Building where Lillard worked.
Palmer felt and saw a bump in the area where Lillard said he had felt the pop. Reasoning that this bump was one of the spinal column’s 26 vertebrae out of line, Palmer persuaded Lillard to let him try to move it back to its normal position. In the few days that followed the first chiropractic adjustment, Lillard regained his hearing. After correcting the position of the vertebra in his patient’s neck, Palmer witnessed the restoration of spinal integrity, a dramatic change in his patient’s health and the birth of a profession. Thus, chiropractic was born on September 18, 1895.
Making the Connection
Though chiropractic itself is a relatively new health care profession, many of its vitalistic principles date back thousands of years. It was Palmer who revealed the relationship among the nerve system, the vertebrae and the expression of health. Palmer reasoned that a vertebra that was even slightly misaligned could irritate the spinal cord or spinal nerves, thus changing the messages carried by them. In this state, the body can become less able to function properly, thereby interfering with its striving to maintain its own health. D.D. Palmer called this misalignment and interference a vertebral subluxation. His work was continued by his son, B. J. Palmer.
B. J. Palmer
Chiropractic grew rapidly under the guidance of D. D. Palmer’s son, B.J., who developed the theory and art of chiropractic, laying the groundwork for contemporary practice. B.J. Palmer’s goal was to:
a) create a systematic way to objectively locate and analyze vertebral subluxations,
b)verify the changes that occur when vertebrae become subluxated, and
c) verify when the vertebral subluxation is corrected.
Sherman’s first class graduated on September 18, 1976, the 100th anniversary of the first adjustment.