The First Chiropractor: How Modern Chiropractic Began

Celebrating 125 Years of Chiropractic

2020 marks the 125th anniversary of chiropractic! Each month we’ll look at the many chiropractic products, innovations, and milestones throughout the decades. This month we start at the very beginning with the founding of chiropractic in 1895!

The Founding of Chiropractic

Modern chiropractic treatment was founded by Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, who emigrated from Canada to the United States with his family in his twenties. By 1895, after years of independent research and study of human health, Palmer performed the first credited chiropractic adjustment on patient Harvey Lillard in Davenport, Iowa.1 Following this success, Palmer began teaching his method. Two years later in 1897, he established what would be known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, becoming the first school for chiropractic education in the world. 

D.D. Palmer is credited as “The Discoverer of Chiropractic” and “The Founder of the Chiropractic Profession.”1 His determination to share his knowledge and further our understanding of the human body helped shape the study of chiropractic medicine throughout the decades. 

Looking Ahead

Over the next year, we will look at the exciting chiropractic advancements, particularly the knowledge and technology innovations, per decade as we make our way to the modern modalities of today. Next month, we will discuss the first X-rays of the spine and skeleton performed for chiropractic—a huge step forward in the understanding of the human body as well as a superior opportunity for the field of chiropractics. 


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1“The Palmer Family Heritage and the History of Palmer College of Chiropractic.” Palmer College of Chiropractic, http://www.palmer.edu/about-us/history/palmer-family/.