On September 18, 1895 the first chiropractic adjustment was given by Dr. DD Palmer, a magnetic healer of the time, to Harvey Lillard. Mr. Lillard, a janitor in the Ryan building on the corner of Brady and 2nd Street in Davenport Iowa, was nearly totally deaf for 17 years. After the historic first adjustment, Harvey’s hearing returned. This revelation, led Dr. Palmer to theorize that nerve interference from a spinal bone out of place was the cause of Harvey’s hearing loss. He further postulated that returning the bone to a more normal position might help correct the problem. It was from this simple beginning that the chiropractic profession was born.
On this anniversary, it might be interesting to read the words of Dr. DD Palmer, the founder of chiropractic. We have presented them below.
Portrait of Dr. DD Palmer
“Harvey Lillard a janitor in the Ryan Block, where I had my office, had been so deaf for 17 years that he could not hear the racket of a wagon on the street or the ticking of a watch. I made inquiry as to the cause of his deafness and was informed that when he was exerting himself in a cramped, stooping position, he felt something give way in his back and immediately became deaf. An examination showed a vertebrae racked from its normal position. I reasoned that if that vertebra was replaced, the man’s hearing should be restored. With this object in view, a half-hour’s talk persuaded Mr. Lillard to allow me to replace it. I racked it into position by using the spinous process as a lever and soon the man could hear as before. There was nothing “accidental” about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the result expected was obtained. There was nothing “crude” about this adjustment; it was specific, so much so that no Chiropractor has equaled it.”
Within two years Dr. DD Palmer opened the first school of Chiropractic on Brady Street in Davenport. It was his son Dr. BJ Palmer, who continued the school after his death. It is the son, BJ Palmer, who is given credit for growing and developing the profession into what it has become today.