At Hopkins Health and Wellness Center, we’re always looking for ways to push the boundaries of chiropractic care and physical therapy. Over the years, our efforts have culminated in the DMR Method, which is a revolutionary process in chiropractics that has gained national recognition.

However, while it’s great to look forward to the future, it can be enlightening, also, to look at the past. Did you know that chiropractic has a rather interesting origin story? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the story of Daniel David Palmer, the first chiropractor, and the curious history behind the first chiropractic adjustment.

The First Chiropractor Is Born

Our story begins long ago, in a distant foreign land that we only know today as “Ontario, Canada.” On March 7, 1845, Thomas Palmer and his wife, Katherine McVay, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, whom they named Daniel David Palmer. Little did they know, on that fateful day, they gave birth to the world’s first chiropractor.

Daniel David Palmer grew up like most children, eventually moving to the United States at the ripe age of 20, taking a series of odd jobs, but ever studying the human body and the various practices of medical treatment in those days. Eventually, he settled with magnetic healing, a particular type of treatment that focused on applying therapy to the body through the use of magnets. While modern scientists are dubious of the scientific benefits of magnetic therapy today, it is nonetheless where Palmer began his long career in human health.

The Miraculous Adjustment

Palmer practiced magnetic therapy for nine years or so, until it happened—one day in 1895, he encountered Harvey Lillard, the building’s janitor, who had been deaf for many years. Lillard claimed that years before, he had lost his hearing after he felt something pop in his spine. Palmer noticed a conspicuous lump on Lillard’s back and postulated that, if adjusted into its proper place, Lillard’s hearing would be restored.

Palmer offered to attempt to fix the problem and ended up realigning his spinal lump into its proper place. Lo and behold, after expertly administering the world’s first chiropractic adjustment, Lillard felt a whole lot better, and claimed his hearing was restored—just like that!

Did Lillard’s adjustment truly fix his hearing? Unfortunately, due to the long passage of time that has since passed, there’s simply no way for us to know for certain. What we do know, however, is that Palmer’s session with Lillard inspired him to research what would eventually become chiropractic care.

The Birth of Chiropractics

Palmer was astounded by his discovery and studied his findings further. Palmer’s opinion was that nerve flow was the source of all disease. While we do, in fact, know today that there are a myriad of diseases that are completely unrelated to the nervous system, it was this theory that drove Palmer to study chiropractic, as he believed that realigning the spine could restore nerve flow.

Palmer eventually established a school for chiropractic students, and passed on what he learned. Taking the Greek words cheiros (hand) and praktikos (done), he coined the term “chiropractic”, and began to recruit students. Many of these students eventually started to branch off on their own, and chiropractic began to establish itself as a serious practice.

The Death of Daniel David Palmer

Unfortunately, D.D. Palmer wasn’t able to cultivate his discovery for long before he met his eventual death. Thirteen years after Palmer’s initial treatment with Lillard, he was diagnosed with typhoid fever and met his eventual end. There is some controversy surrounding the events of Palmer’s death; he claimed to have been run over by his son, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship. Some speculate that it was actually these injuries that were the leading cause of his death, while others vehemently argue it.

Regardless of how David Palmer came to his end, his contributions to the field of chiropractic care can’t be ignored.

Chiropractic Care Today

Chiropractic has grown immensely since its inception in 1895. Despite the fact that it went through a crucible of opposition in the 1900s when many were skeptical of unfamiliar treatments, it subsisted, and today is more ubiquitous than it’s ever been.

Chiropractic has a long and interesting history—the “legend” of D.D. Palmer and his first adjustment is just one small facet of the many happenings that shaped chiropractic into what it is today.

However, its history isn’t over; in fact, it’s only just beginning. New advancements in chiropractic care are continually made, particularly by our expert clinicians who pioneered the DMR Method, an unprecedented treatment that has gained national recognition.

At Hopkins Health and Wellness, we’re continually striving to write new pages into the chiropractic history book, and whether you’re in Hopkins, another state, or even another country, we’re happy to treat your back with the life-changing DMR method. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!