Tag Archives: the first chiropractor

The First Chiropractor Had It Wrong

DD PalmerSeptember 18, 1895 – Dr. DD Palmer, a school teacher who had studied the newly developed Electrotherapy and Osteopathy health sciences, performed a manipulation on Harvey Lillard, the building’s janitor, and declared that he had created a new healing profession – chiropractic.

While his techniques were similar to the osteopathic techniques developed 10 years earlier, he declared that his was a new profession and different from osteopathy.

Early on, Dr. Palmer stated that the subluxation (misalignment) of the vertebrae “is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases”.  This statement has created dissension in the medical field for 119 years, although the medical journals from that time discuss spine traction using “strong cotton cloth and meathooks… bought at a hardware store”, the treatment of “Typhoid Spine” with morphine injections and electric therapy “Faradism”. There was new science theory that bacteria may be the cause of disease.

So Dr. Palmer had it wrong. Unless you allow for his generous use of hyphens. He very often wrote the word “dis-ease” and in a 1910 textbook he wrote the definition: “Dis-ease – The kind of dis-ease depends on what nerves are too tense or too slack.” My definition of dis-ease is a lack of ease, and I treat patients in pain who have a definite “lack of ease” every day of my practice.

Making Excuses?

Am I justifying or making excuses for Dr. Palmer in his dis-ease theory? No. There is published work that states that he thought chiropractic could cure a number of conditions that I would not accept for treatment today. But medicine was in its infancy at that time in history, learning what worked and what didn’t, so I can be generous and allow Dr. Palmer to have had high hopes for his discoveries. He held firmly to the theory that the body could heal itself of many ailments if there was normal structure and alignment. And I agree.

If you need to heal, see Dr. Neal!