The word ‘Chiropractic’ comes from the Greek words cheir (meaning ‘hand’) and praktos (meaning ‘done’), i.e. Done by Hand. The name was chosen by the developer of chiropractic, Daniel David Palmer known as “DD Palmer”. A prolific reader of all things scientific, DD Palmer realized that various forms of manipulation had been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. Harvey Lillard was a janitor who worked in the Ryan Building in Brady Street, Davenport, Iowa, USA. He was the first person to be treated with chiropractic by D.D. Palmer.

Lillard maintained the building where Palmer had his office. In September 1895 he told Palmer that he had lost most of his hearing and was almost completely deaf. Lillard added that he “could not hear the racket of a wagon on the street or the ticking of a watch.” When asked how he had become deaf he replied that, 17 years before, while bent over in a cramped, stooping position he “heard something “pop” in his spine” and immediately lost most of his hearing.

Palmer later told that he then offered to take a look at Lillard’s spine and found a lump just between his shoulders; he persuaded Lillard to allow him to “rack his bone back into position.” Palmer, in fact, thought Lillard’s hearing loss was due to a misalignment that blocked the spinal nerves which control the inner ear, the so-called vertebral subluxation;he decided to push the vertebrae back into placeand, after a few days, Lillard said that his hearing was better and almost completely restored. Lillard described:

I was deaf 17 years and I expected to always remain so, for I had doctored a great deal without any benefit. I had long ago made up my mind to not take any more ear treatments, for it did me no good. Last January Dr. Palmer told me that my deafness came from an injury in my spine. This was new to me; but it is a fact that my back was injured at the time I went deaf. Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good. HARVEY LILLARD, 320 W. Eleventh St., Davenport, Iowa.

From that first adjustment, DD Palmer continued to develop chiropractic and in 1897 established the Palmer School of Cure, now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa, where it remains today. Following the first adjustment, many people became interested in Palmer’s new science and healing art. Among his early students were Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua (BJ), as well as members of the older healing arts of medicine and osteopathy. The first state law licensing chiropractors was passed in 1913, and by 1931, 39 states had given chiropractors legal recognition. Today, there are more than 60,000 active chiropractic licenses in the United States. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands officially recognize chiropractic as a health care profession. Many other countries also recognize and regulate chiropractic, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Switzerland.