History of Chiropractic


Have you ever wondered how chiropractic became a profession, who discovered it, and when it began? Sometimes learning about something you enjoy or something that makes you feel better can help you have a better appreciation for the professionals who take their time to care for people like you.

The origins of chiropractic care dates back as early at 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. in writings found in China and Greece. These writings talked about spinal manipulation and moving the lower limbs to help ease low back pain. The word chiropractic originates from the Greek words cheir (meaning ‘hand’) and praktos (meaning ‘done’): Done by Hand. It became a profession in September 1895 when founder Daniel David Palmer, who chose the name chiropractic, examined a janitor, Harvey Lillard, who had become partially deaf 17 years before meeting Palmer. While Lillard was working in Palmer’s office one day, he was bent over without his shirt on and Palmer noticed he had a vertebrae out of place. Palmer inquired about it and Lillard explained that he had moved the wrong way and felt something give in his back. After examining the janitor’s back, Palmer gave him an adjustment to what he believed was a misplaced vertebra in the upper back. After the adjustment, the janitor reported that his hearing had improved.

Palmer was a very scientific individual. He realized that a philosophical or scientific reasoning had never been developed in regards to the effects that manipulation can have, even though many forms had been used for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. Due to this, Palmer made a huge contribution to the health field. He classified the philosophy, art, and science behind chiropractic which was based on his widespread research of anatomy and physiology.

After he made the first adjustment on the janitor, Palmer continued to develop chiropractic. In 1897, he founded the Palmer School of cure, which is now known at the Palmer College of Chiropractic located in Davenport, Iowa. Many individuals became interested in Palmer’s new science and healing skill, including his own son, Bartlett Joshua. However, not everyone appreciated Palmer’s approach to healing. Palmer’s teachings brought about a lot of tension between his approach and conventional allopathic medicine. Laws that allowed the practice of chiropractic were not developed until later; however, this did not stop many from practicing. Until the 1960s, it was common to see chiropractors being put in jail and fined for practicing without a license, including Palmer himself. In 1913, the first state law licensing chiropractors was passed in Kansas. By 1931, 39 states legally recognized chiropractors, and by 1974, Louisiana became the last state to recognize the profession. More than 70,000 active chiropractic licenses in the United States exist today, and all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands view chiropractic care as a health care profession.

There are times when it is nice to have a better understanding of something you are appreciative of. It is important to the staff here at North County Pain Relief for you to know why we love what we do. So, the next time you need some pain relief, make an appointment with us and ask us why we got into the profession of chiropractic. We would love to tell you!