23 Feb 2016

Chiropractic: How it all began

Chiropractic how it started dd palmer 1895

Chiropractic: How it all began!!

This good looking chap is the genius who discovered Chiropractic.  He theorised a spinal segment that was misaligned or fixated could irritate the corresponding nerve root, resulting in a dampened down nervous system, and pain.

His name is Daniel David Palmer, and performed the first Chiropractic adjustment.  DD Palmer had many jobs such as a bee-keeper, grocer and as a teacher – where he met Harvey Lillard, a partially deaf janitor.  Harvey had felt something click in his back, 17 years previously, whilst bending over and then his hearing started to deteriorate.  In 1895 DD Palmer, surmised that a joint in the spine had moved out of position and caused the deafness.  He then performed the first ever chiropractic adjustment on that joint, in Davenport, Iowa, which he claimed regained Harvey’s hearing.  DD founded the first chiropractic school in 1897.

Everything was going well and Chiropractic was expanding, however it was still a new therapy and unrecognised by law.  In 1907 Chiropractors in the US were arrested for practising medicine without a license.  Many Chiropractors were jailed for their profession.  DD Palmer was held for 17 days until he agreed to pay the fine.  Finally, the chiropractors won their legal battle and achieved legal licensing for Chiropractic.

After this DD Palmer sold his school to his son BJ Palmer, and went off to develop more around the country.  This allegedly left a bitter taste between them.

DD Palmer died in 1917 reportedly from typhoid fever, however due to the conflicting relationship between father and son, reports state that DD Palmer was struck by his son’s car during a parade, and died of resulting injuries…. awkward!  After his father’s death, BJ Palmer become the ‘Developer of Chiropractic’ and helped it to become the profession it is today.

What has changed since then?Chiropractic DD Palmer 1895

Chiropractic as a profession is continuously researching to develop the evidence to support it.  Chiropractors are also developing their profession by training in modern techniques and therapies to coincide with adjustments to offer the best overall care for their patients.  Chiropractors can also specialise in certain fields, whether it be sports, paediatrics or geriatrics etc.

In November 2012, The Queen of England approved the grant of a royal Charter to the College of Chiropractic.  This is the first royal charter to be granted to a complimentary medicine organisation in the UK.  This symbolises the integration of Chiropractic into everyday healthcare, standardisation of quality and securing the public’s confidence.


Ernst E (2008). “Chiropractic: a critical evaluation”. J Pain Symptom Manage 35 (5): 544–62. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.07.004. PMID 18280103.

Palmer College of Chiropractic (2015) [online] available at: http://www.palmer.edu/about-us/history/palmer-family/

Royal College of Chiropractors (2015) [online] available at: http://rcc-uk.org/rcc-history/


  • A good bit of advice and history

  • astrid thomas says:

    This is a wonderful therapy, and I am grateful to the college of Chiropractic in Treforest where I am receiving treatments by a very clever student called Ella she comes from Norway.
    Thank you very much.

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