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  • Dr. Katelynn Nardulli DC, FDNP

The Story of Chiropractic

This past weekend, the chiropractic profession celebrated it's 126th birthday! In honor of this amazing profession, I would like to share the story of chiropractic with you...



The understanding that the spine and nervous system is somehow involved in overall health and wellness, as well as the practice of using manual manipulation as a course of healing, dates back to the time of the ancient Greek philosophers. In fact, Hippocrates once said, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”


The word chiropractic comes from the Greek words cheir (meaning ‘hand’) and praktos (meaning ‘done”). So chiropractic quite literally means done by hand which is perfect to describe this form of hands-on healing. Today, I would like to share the story of how chiropractic was discovered, with you.


The year was 1895, the same year that x-rays were discovered. D.D. Palmer, the Father of Chiropractic, was a magnetic healer (a common therapy of the time) with a huge practice in Davenport, Iowa. He had his doubts that the “germ theory” was the complete explanation for the cause of all disease and illness. D.D. asked the question: How could 2 family members work together, eat the same foods, sleep in the same bed and yet one will succumb to a disease and the other will not? His philosophy was that the “seed” or germ was not the only factor in the development of disease but the “soil” or strength of the host was also an equally important factor. So D.D. began extensively studying the anatomy and physiology of the human body and seeking ways to strengthen the host and prevent disease.


One day D.D. was talking with Harvey Lillard, the man who owned the janitor service in his building. Harvey was nearly deaf in one ear. He mentioned to D.D. that years before, while lifting a heavy weight he felt something “snap” at the base of his neck. Shortly thereafter his hearing started to fade. D.D. strongly believed that there must be a connection between the “popping” in Harvey’s back and his sudden loss hearing.


D.D. was intrigued and asked Harvey if he could have permission to examine his back. When D.D. felt Havey’s spine he quickly noticed that one of the bones in Harvey’s upper back was sticking out much more than the bones above and below it. D.D. explained to Harvey that he believed this bone was out of place and could be causing pressure on his spinal cord and nerves and ultimately that this could be the reason Harvey was experiencing diminished hearing. Harvey willingly laid down on a couch and D.D. performed the first chiropractic adjustment right then and there to move that bone back into proper alignment with the others.


When Harvey got up, he stated he could hear a horse-drawn cart going down the street! This was the first thing he had heard clearly in 17 years! And the chiropractic profession was born.


At the time D.D. thought he found one of possible causes of deafness, but over time he quickly realized that when he corrected misalignments in the spine, wherever they happened to be, it improved the nerve supply and therefore the function of whatever tissue and organs that nerve supplied.


The chiropractic profession continues to educate patients on the power of the nervous system, the importance of the brain-body connection and helps patients to achieve better health from the inside out. And each year on September 18th the profession celebrates Chiropractic Founders Day in honor of this very first spinal adjustment.



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