Chiropractic care was developed by the late Daniel David Palmer who chose the name “Chiropractic” by combining the Greek words “cheir” and “praktos”, which translate to “done by hand.” Throughout human history there have always been people using forms of spinal manipulation, but DD Palmer was the first person to apply a scientific rationale along with a philosophy to the manipulations he was performing.
Palmer put his philosophy and methodology to the test in 1895 when he examined a janitor named Harvey Lillard who had gone deaf 17 years before the assessment. The janitor claimed to have lost his hearing when he felt an abnormal movement in his back while he was picking something up. Palmer noticed the janitor had a misaligned vertebrae and performed and adjustment to realign the spine. The janitor had an instant increase in his hearing, and the first successful chiropractic adjustment was performed.
From that point forward, Palmer set out to spread the word and develop Chiropractic care. He discovered many different ways to relieve pain throughout the body with chiropractic adjustments. In 1897 he founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and began accepting students including his son and members of a few medical communities in the area. The school still exists today and operates as the Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Palmer received a lot of resistance from the traditional medical community after he established his school. There was a lot of backlash concerning his techniques and the philosophies behind his adjustments. Most people wrote him off as a phony and refused to believe he had accomplished anything scientific. He was even arrested and charged with practicing medicine without a license, a charge which landed him in jail for a short time.
Upon further examination, it is clear that Palmer knew exactly what he was performing adjustments through the early 20th century. His dedication to the science paved the way for today’s chiropractors.
In 1913 Kansas became the first state to license the practice of chiropractic care. By 1931 there were 39 states allowing chiropractors to legally practice, and it was not until 1971 when the last state, Louisiana, granted chiropractic licenses. There are now over 70,000 chiropractors practicing throughout the United States, and the benefits of chiropractic care are well documented. There are also over 20 schools outside of the United States training chiropractors who are practicing around the world.
In 2005 the World Health Organization published guidelines on the basic training and safety precautions to take when practicing chiropractic care. These guidelines also recommended educational standards that must be upheld to in order to grant an individual a license to practice. These guidelines are now published in over 10 languages and used across the globe.