A Brief History of Chiropractic

Chiropractors are known for their spinal adjustments, but an adjustment is not an idea that started with D.D. Palmer. Hieroglyphics demonstrating spinal adjustments have been found in Egypt, Mayan ruins, and even in the Incan culture found in Peru.[1] At the start of the 1800s, doctors looked at how the body and skeleton change when a person falls off horses, is injured, works hard, or is in accidents. These individuals eventually became bonesetters. These individuals did not give medications or perform surgery. They took the approach of moving the spine’s bones, setting shoulders, and rotating hips to heal various illnesses.

In the later 1800’s Dr. Daniel David Palmer was also studying the spine and how it worked. He noticed that the building janitor, Harvey Lillard, had difficulty hearing correctly and difficulty turning his head from side to side. Upon examination, he found a bump in his back, and when he felt this, it seemed as though his vertebrae were out of place. Dr. Palmer pushed on the lump and put it back into place. After a series of treatments like this, Harvey Lillard started to report a return of his hearing[2]. With these amazing results, tremendous excitement and curiosity arose. With this, ancient ideas had been reborn and led to what we now call Chiropractic.

With recent research providing more and more support, Chiropractic has become far more credible than ever before. It has been further combined with modern technology, diagnostic x-rays, cutting-edge equipment, and integration with various other fields. This cooperative approach gives a glimpse at what the future of health care hopes to offer.[3] An evidence-based, technology-enhanced, integrative health care team with the goal of not just managing symptoms but preventing illness and symptoms whenever possible.


[1] Breasted, J.H. (1930). The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, Volume 1: Hieroglyphic Transliteration, Translation, and Commentary. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 303-304.

[2] Palmer, D.D. (1910) The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic Portland, Oregon: Portland Printing House Company.

[3] Grant G. Integrative medicine, the medicine of the future. MOJ Clin Med Case Rep. 2014;1(1):5-6. DOI: 10.15406/mojcr.2014.01.00002.

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