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Chiropractic History



Daniel David Palmer (1845 - 1913)

While reference to spinal adjustment is found in ancient Greek and Chinese literature, modern-day chiropractic began in 1895 when D.D. Palmer, a longtime student of anatomy and physiology noticed the anatomical connection between spine, nerves and body function. Palmer reasoned that a problem in spine could be the cause bodily illness if the nerves could not communicate with the rest of the body. Palmer theorized that spinal bones could go "out of place” or "subluxate” and interfere with nerve transmission. This could be corrected by an "adjustment”. D.D. Palmer believed that all living beings are endowed with "innate intelligence” which regulates all the body's vital functions as it flows through the nervous system. The primary role of the Chiropractor, Palmer believed, was not to treat conditions but to remove nerve interference caused by subluxations. Then the innate intelligence could perform its role in maintaining health without the need of medication or surgery.

Palmer’s theory was developed at a time when medicine still had few effective drugs, no antibiotics and no standards of education or medical care. Since then, research has shown that while chiropractic treatment is by no means a "cure all”, the effect of the spine on the nervous system can have wide ranging effects.

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