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A History of Chiropractic


Chiropractic celebrated its 100th birthday in 1995.


On Sept. 18, 1895, Dr. D.D. Palmer of Davenport, Iowa, gave the first chiropractic adjustment. His patient was Harvey Lillard, a janitor in Palmer's building who had been partially deaf since a traumatic accident several years earlier. Palmer, who had been studying the spine and nervous system, found abnormal alignment on Lillard's upper spine that he presumed to be a spinal joint not moving properly (a subluxation).

After he restored more normal movement to that area of the spine,  Lillard could hear again, thus the beginning of Palmer's development of chiropractic. He went on to found a school of chiropractic which was attended by many types of health practitioners, including medical doctors.

Today, lack of proper movement in the spinal joints continues to be the root cause of most spinal cord and nerve dysfunction and interference as well as muscle and joint problems, often leading to osteoarthritis of the spine, hips and knees.  Subluxation-caused interference to the central nervous system has been found to be a factor in many cases of  pain, illness and disease.

Today, thanks to D.D. Palmer and his son B.J., millions of people receive relief from needless pain and suffering every week through chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic bases its success on the ability of the human body to heal without drugs or surgery if joint and nerve imbalances are corrected.

A Near-Death Experience

Almost 90 years ago, an illness plagued the U.S. that would have made anthrax seem like the hiccups. More than a million people died with what was called the St. Louis Flu in 1918. If you got the St. Louis Flu, you were going to die.

Strangely enough, around that same time, chiropractic was close to extinction only 23 years after its discovery. In the time just after the end of World War I, laws against slander were so lenient that medical doctors were allowed to openly attack the chiropractic profession without any regard to truth, legality or the best interest of the patients.

Because medical doctors were making it so hard to have a practice, chiropractors were making mostly house calls. In 1918, chiropractors in Wisconsin began going door-to-door adjusting people who had the St. Louis Flu.

As a result, an amazing thing occurred. None of the patients with the St. Louis Flu who were adjusted by a chiropractor died.

The news about Chiropractic swept across Wisconsin and eventually the whole country. Within a short period of time, chiropractic became so well known as the best defense against the St. Louis flu that it saved the profession. Unfortunately, many of the myths and legends started by medical doctors way back then persist today.

After the St. Louis Flu had come and gone and chiropractic began to take off, the major medical association realized they failed to eliminate the profession. As a last ditch effort, the state medical boards began offering chiropractors medical licenses, figuring if you can't beat them, control them. Not a single chiropractor took their offer!

Chiropractic never pretended to be a cure for St. Louis Flu, anthrax, back pain, headaches, or cancer back in 1918 or today. Chiropractic simply removes pressure, irritation and interference from the brain stem, spinal cord and nerves. This maximizes your body's ability to heal and protect itself without the use of dangerous drugs or surgery.

Today, chiropractic is recognized around the world as a primary contact health profession. That means you don't need a referral to see a chiropractor and they are trained to diagnose and treat patients or refer them to the appropriate therapy. Chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective treatments for spinall problems, hip, knee and shoulder problems and headaches.  It has also been shown to be beneficial for problems with asthma, muscle cramps, and many other conditions.

The most effective approach to chiropractic is to see it as a preventive therapy, much as dentistry. Problems with the spine and joints can be detected and treated by a chiropractor long before any symptoms appear, which will prevent wear and tear and lead to a longer and healthier life.


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