September is a birthday month! If it’s yours, then happy birthday! However, this message is also a celebration of the birth of the chiropractic profession. The story of chiropractic’s birth is quite interesting. It was actually a discovery, which took place in Davenport, Iowa, on September 18, 1895.
Harvey Lillard, an African-American entrepreneur, had a very unusual encounter with Dr. D.D. Palmer. Harvey and his employees operated a janitorial business, which provided cleaning services in the building where Palmer operated his infirmary. On that mid-September evening when Dr. Palmer was working later than usual in his office, Harvey entered to sweep the floors and the two became engaged in a very loud conversation. It was so loud because Harvey was deaf and could only understand when Palmer shouted at the top of his lungs.
The discussion began when Dr. Palmer asked him how long he had been deaf. Mr. Lillard answered “Over 17 years.”
Palmer then asked Harvey why he was deaf and Mr. Lillard smiled “It’s funny you should ask because I’ve been to all the doctors in Davenport and more of them over in Illinois, too. All of them tried to do different things in and around my ears to treat them. They all failed to help me, but none of them ever asked why I was deaf.”
Palmer asked again “Do you know what brought it on, Harvey?”
Lillard said “I don’t really know why I lost my hearing, but I know when it happened.
“What exactly did happen?” the doctor asked.
Harvey explained “One day when I was bent over in a corner scrubbing a floor with my brush, I felt a popping sound in my neck. It was immediately like someone put heavy mufflers over my ears and it kept on getting worse after that.”
“Why don’t we have a look at your neck, Harvey?” Palmer asked gesturing toward the desk chair where he had been sitting previously.
Harvey said “Sure” as he sat on Palmer’s chair.
Harvey Lillard, received the first chiropractic adjustment in history
While examining the neck, the doctor noticed an unusual bump just below Harvey’s head. He touched the lump in the upper neck and Harvey winced in pain. “How long has that been hurting?”
Harvey’s surprising answer was “I never noticed that it hurt until you touched it! I don’t think anyone has ever examined my neck before.”
Palmer said “It seems that the vertebra under that bump is twisted out of position.” With a puzzled look on his face, Harvey just shrugged.
Considering that the deafness came with the upset of the neck, Palmer reasoned that helping the neck problem might just be the right thing to do. Palmer was an extraordinary doctor, whose keen analytical mind had already been studying the relationship between function in the body, and the nerve system. He was especially interested in how the brain uses the network of nerves to control the functions of the rest of the body. Harvey’s situation brought an ideal opportunity to test the doctor’s ideas. When he asked “Will you let me try to help you?” Harvey agreed, and together they performed the first chiropractic adjustment in history.
Patting his hand on an upholstered table in the middle of the room, Palmer said “Harvey, please lie face down here.” After Harvey positioned himself, the doctor gently turned Harvey’s head to the side and placed his hand in contact with the bump, directly over the twisted vertebra. Next he introduced a light movement of his hand so quickly that it got the vertebra to shift its position back to normal. Harvey noticed an immediate, amazing improvement.
According to Mr. Lillard’s letter documenting what happened, he received three adjustments over a couple of weeks’ time, and his hearing was completely restored. With today’s scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology we can understand how a chiropractic adjustment could restore normal function to Harvey’s nerve system and bring such a miraculous outcome.
That’s how the chiropractic profession was born. Since then many thousands of chiropractors have followed in D.D. Palmer’s footsteps, and it’s interesting to note that
Dr. D.D. Palmer
Harvey wasn’t involved in the founding of this profession to make his back feel better, and Dr. Palmer wasn’t trying to find a better way of relieving pain. Together they were working on something much bigger, restoring proper function to the body. That’s why it has been said that chiropractic adds years to life, and life to years. It’s also why we often try to remind practice members with this little slogan Chiropractic, it’s not about your back, it’s not about your pain, it’s about your life!
People of all ages should see their chiropractor to function well and improve their performance, whether or not they have pain. Chiropractic improves a person’s quality of life so that your decision to provide chiropractic care for your family is a down-to-earth choice for healthy good hygiene. So if you and your children haven’t been checked for a while, then why not help celebrate this great discovery by getting in for a chiropractic visit real soon?
For more information about the thoughts, words, and deeds of Dr. D.D. Palmer click the following link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342800 and http://www.youneedchiro.com/blog/?p=1088