History of Chiropractic

In 1895 the first Chiropractic adjustment was given to (William) Harvey Lillard. The story

goes that Lillard was a janitor in the Ryan building where Daniel David Palmer had an office. Palmer was a natural healer studying a wide range of healing modalities. He had a particular interest in the spine and nervous system, as well as the body’s self healing ability.

So what was the first adjustment given for?

(William) Harvey Lillard firstChiropractic patient

(William) Harvey Lillard first
Chiropractic patient

You may think it was back pain, neck pain or headaches. Interestingly you’d be wrong. Harvey Lillard had been deaf for seventeen years. He lost his hearing following working in a stooped position. Palmer examined his spine and located an area of poor function. Apparently he adjusted this twice over a period of a few days, and Lillard’s hearing was restored. It is reported that Lillard went from not being able to hear a horse and cart coming down the street toward him, to hearing a watch ticking on the other side of the room. As you can imagine this stimulated Palmer to ask more questions about the spine and nervous system and so Chiropractic was born.

I was deaf 17 years and I expected to always remain so, for I had doctored a great deal without any benefit. I had long ago made up my mind to not take any more ear treatments, for it did me no good. Last January Dr. Palmer told me that my deafness came from an injury in my spine. This was new to me; but it is a fact that my back was injured at the time I went deaf. Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good. HARVEY LILLARD, 320 W. Eleventh St., Davenport, Iowa.

Daniel David Palmer– The first Chiropractor

Daniel David Palmer– The first Chiropractor

Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua, or BJ as he was known, continued the development of the profession and conducted extensive research and experimentation to advance our knowledge and understanding of the nervous system. He headed the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa and went on to train hundreds of Chiropractor from around the world.