Chiropractic care (derived from the Greek, meaning “done by hand”) dates back to the 1895. The discipline was developed by Daniel David Palmer, a self-taught healer in Davenport, Iowa. Dr. Palmer’s objective was to find a cure for disease and illness that did not use drugs. Dr. Palmer studied the structure of the spine and the ancient art of manipulation.
Dr. Palmer first treated a local janitor who complained of deafness after performing heavy labor in a stooped position. Upon examination, Dr. Palmer noted a lump on the janitor’s back that he attributed to a displaced vertebra. Shortly after Palmer’s manipulation of the janitor’s back, his hearing was restored. Later Palmer claimed to successfully treat a man’s heart condition using spinal manipulation. Based upon his success with these two cases, Palmer concluded that disease can be the result of spinal misalignment.
As more people began to seek Palmer’s care, he refined his theory to state that many ailments were caused by the vertebrae impinging on spinal nerves. Palmer called such interference with normal nerve transmission “subluxations.” He believed that after manipulations or adjustments to correct the proper vertebral alignment, normal brain and nerve transmission are restored and the body is able to resume its innate ability to recover from illness.
Today, the majority of practicing providers mix spinal adjustments with other therapies, such as hot or cold treatments, nutrition counseling, and exercise recommendations. They also frequently use new technologies to locate and eliminate subluxations.