By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
Today's date marks 116 years since the first chiropractic adjustment was given in Davenport, Iowa. On September 18, 1895, it was Daniel David Palmer (the Father of Chiropractic) making a hands on healing connection and curing a deaf janitor named Harvey Lillard. The Ryan building janitor had been plagued by years of deafness following an injury, and the hands-on thrusting and realignment of spinal vertebrae, provided a miracle today known as a chiropractic adjustment.
Many of the words to describe what DD Palmer did on that eventful day didn't even exist at the time, and it was an Indiana Reverend that received credit for creating the term chiropractic, around January 1896. Today, many chiropractors don't talk of curing diseases by way of spinal adjustment, and numerous terms have been used to describe bones of the spine that are found to be slightly out of place.
First Ever Los Angeles Chiropractic Newspaper Ad
Dr. DD Palmer's practice of magnetic healing had evolved into the science, philosophy, and art of chiropractic, and by 1902 Palmer was advertising his business in the Los Angeles Times, having moved from Iowa to the city of Pasadena (like so many others as Los Angeles was having phenomenal growth during the time). The August 1902 advertisement says...
Chiropractics find that all illness, sickness, affections, indisposition, complaints, maladies or lack of ease are caused by some bones being slightly displaced. He therefore says:
Why take drugs strange
To cure disease?
Why not adjust the frame
And put at ease
The feeling nerves
Which run the human mills,
When CHIROPRACTIC serves
To cure all ills?
Dr. Palmer does not treat diseases, he adjusts with his hands the displaced bones which create disease.
We could spend days talking about what has changed in the profession and practice of chiropractic since the time of that early chiropractic marketing newspaper advertisement (it's the first recorded advertisement in Los Angeles that I know of), but one thing remains 116 years later. The language may have changed, but there are chiropractors today, that by hand adjust displaced bones which create disease (DD's 1902 term). There are also chiropractors that enjoy five hour work days (did you notice DD Palmer's office hours in the advertisement?).
Notice there's no mention of terms like back pain, neck pain, or even headaches in the early chiropractic advertisement. The use of the term "mills" was appropriate at the time, as gold mining in nearby Mojave and Colorado deserts (also the San Bernardino Mountains) was an expanding activity. The same newspaper featured many advertisements for mining supplies available in the Los Angeles area, and active mining was taking place in what is now Joshua Tree National Park, the Mohave National Preserve, and other areas on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Today's spinal subluxations are far more likely to result from habitual mobile phone and/or computer use, versus the hand grinding and milling of ore in the deserts of Southern California, but the effects on the human frame are as they were in 1895 (many chiropractors would argue that today spinal subluxations are far more devastating than those of the 1800s, when considering other toxins and traumas humans are now exposed to).
And though it's been some 42,340 days since DD Palmer used his hands to align the bones of a janitor afflicted with deafness, today finding a chiropractor that provides adjustment by hands, is easier than ever, thanks to our modern conveniences. Three cheers for your chiropractor and a round of applause for the discoverer of chiropractic.