Chiropractic began in 1895, with Iowa’s Daniel David Palmer treating Harvey Lillard, a partially deaf janitor, as the first. While cleaning in Palmer’s office without his shirt on, Lillard was treated by Dr. Palmer. DWhenard bent over to empty the rubbish bin during a game in Portland; Palmer noticed something was wrong with his vertebra. Lillard stated that he had moved incorrectly when he heard a snap in his back, resulting in him losing his hearing. After being a part of other natural healing methods, Palmer instructed Lillard to lie face down on the floor before adjusting. The next day, Lillard informed Palmer that he could hear rackets on the street.

This program had a significant impact on Palmer’s decision to establish a chiropractic school two years later. The term “chiropractic” has Greek roots, according to Rev. Samel Weed, who coined the word. During his practice, Palmer strove to combine science and metaphysics. Still, the original chiropractic philosophy was based on magnetism, naturalism, vitalism, spiritualism, and many other ideas that were at odds with contemporary scientific thinking. In 1896, Palmer came up with hidden descriptions and philosophies of chiropractic, all of which supported the principles of osteopathy that Andrew Still’s had created a decade earlier. The two had referred to the body as a ‘machine,’ implying that it could effectively govern many components to provide healing without pharmaceuticals. Both went on to say that spinal manipulation might help people live healthier lives by treating joint problems/subluxation. On the other hand, Palmer separated himself from his contemporaries by claiming that he was the first chiropractor to use short-lever manipulative techniques. He also mentioned spinous and transverse processes as mechanical levers in this context. Palmer explained that the nervous system was central in bringing about the results associated with spinal manipulation in chiropractic.

Osteopathic doctors were determined to distinguish their field for all things that chiropractic and osteopathy have in common. They didn’t just want to get licensed and have the profession regulated, but they went on to characterize chiropractic as a mislabeled version of osteopathy. As a result, in 1907, a chiropractor from Wisconsin was arrested and charged with practicing osteopathic medicine without the proper license. Many other chiropractors, such as D.D. Palmer would also be imprisoned for the same offense. In the legal defense of their system of medicine, the Palmers included “Modernized Chiropractic,” the first chiropractic textbook that was published in 1906. The ironic part is that his book had been written by Longworthy, Smith, et al., “mixer” chiropractors that the Palmers treated with contempt. While chiropractors won their case in Wisconsin in 1907state medical boards saw a rise in successful prosecutions. As a result, chiropractors carried out political campaigns aimed at having separate licensing laws. They eventually succeeded in all states, starting in Kansas in 1913 and finishing in Louisiana in 1974.

With “mixers” adding other treatments to spinal adjustments and “straights” sticking to spinal adjustments as the sole treatment method, there has been intense division in the profession. In 1975, the National Institutes of Health-sponsored a conference that promoted further chiropractic research. Until 1987 when the American Medical Association lost an antitrust case, they had boycotted chiropractic, describing it as an “unscientific cult.” Chiropractic has been recovering from that negative campaign for years.


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