Happy Founders Day 120 Years of Chiropractic

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Here at All American Healthcare Covington we are celebrating Chiropractic Founders Day.  On September 18th, 1895, the first chiropractic adjustment in the United States was performed, sparking the foundation of the chiropractic profession. Chiropractic Founder’s Day has been celebrated on this day ever since.


On September 18, 1895, in Davenport Iowa, the first chiropractic adjustment was given by Dr. DD Palmer to a janitor named Harvey Lillard.  Harvey had lost most of his hearing 17 years earlier after hearing a popping sound in his neck while he was scrubbing with his brush.

According to tradition, D.D. Palmer heard Lillard on the landing outside his office with some of the other janitorial staff. D.D. went out to listen to Lillard tell a joke. Everyone laughed, and D.D. gave Lillard a friendly slap on the back with a book. A few days later, Lillard came to D.D.’s office and told him that since that time, his hearing had been improved. D.D. spent a few more days putting the pieces together.

Then, on September 18th, 1895, he called Lillard into his office. After 30 minutes of convincing, he persuaded Lillard to lay flat on his stomach. D.D. examined Lillard’s back, found that a vertebra was out of place, and gave a sharp thrust with his hands to put the vertebra back into place. Within minutes, Lillard was able to hear the ticking of a pocket watch for the first time in seventeen years. This event led to the formation of the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897.

There is some disagreement about the specific date of D.D.’s first chiropractic adjustment. Some state that it occurred on September 17th, while others celebrate Chiropractic Founder’s Day in June. The majority agree that it took place on September 18th.

However, while D.D. Palmer may have founded the modern chiropractic profession, he was far from the first to study it. Greek and Chinese writings, some dating as far back as 2700 B.C., mention spinal manipulation or lower extremity maneuvering as a treatment for low back pain. Additionally, the Greek physician Hippocrates, who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., once wrote, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is requisite for many diseases.”

The chiropractic profession focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, especially the spine.

“Spine” usually refers to the spinal column, which is the bony structure, comprised of vertebrae, that houses and protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerves responsible for transmitting sensory signals, reflexes, and fine and gross motor control movements around the body, especially to and from the brain. The spinal column begins at the base of the head and extends down the torso to the tailbone.

Those who practice chiropractic, called chiropractors, will identify the source of an individual’s problem. This may include in-depth patient assessments, X-rays, or a simple chat with the individual. Once the affected area of the spine has been identified, chiropractors manipulate the joint until it’s back in its proper place. Typically, this is done by use of targeted, controlled pressure, most often through manual manipulation. Many chiropractors also utilize massage therapy, stretching, ice and heat compresses, nutritional and exercise counseling, and electrical stimulation to complement the treatment.

Chiropractic care is a proven way to support overall wellness.

The basic belief of chiropractic care is that the body can often heal itself with minimal interventions. Chiropractors use non-invasive, outpatient techniques to correct issues in the support systems of the body: the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. This leads to lessened pain and disability, which lowers the need for pain medication or surgery.

In fact, one study looked at 174 workers who suffered lumbar spine injuries at work. Among workers who first saw a surgeon about their injuries, 42.7% eventually had surgery. Only 1.5% of workers who saw a chiropractor first underwent surgery. While there were other factors identified that reduced the odds of eventual surgery, such as gender, age, or race, the study concluded that:

“There was a very strong association between surgery and first provider seen for the injury even after adjustment for other important variables.”

A chiropractic adjustment can benefit a wide array of conditions in addition to back or neck pain.

As expected, the most common reason people go to the chiropractor is for back or neck pain, which can have a variety of underlying causes, such as injuries or poor posture while sitting or standing. This type of pain is often accompanied by other symptoms, all of which can benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. Some of these symptoms include migraines or headaches, stiffness, muscle spasms, and pain or numbness in the extremities. In fact, some people may notice one or more of these symptoms, such as persistent headaches, before noticing any back or neck pain.

Surprisingly, chiropractic adjustments can provide full or partial relief for several conditions that wouldn’t seem to be related to the spine, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fertility issues
  • Ear infection
  • Gastrointestinal syndromes
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Respiratory infection
  • Menstrual disorders

Additionally, traditional treatment methods like surgical procedures or medications are often accompanied by a list of potential side effects and risks. Chiropractic care, however, has very few associated risks.

Sources Palmer College

Happy Founders Day 120 Years of Chiropractic

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