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How did Chiropractic Care Start | The History of Chiropractic

In the realm of healthcare, chiropractic care stands as a holistic approach that has brought relief and wellness to countless individuals around the world. This non-invasive treatment option, focusing on the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal disorders, primarily those related to the spine, has a rich history rooted in the late 19th century. To fully appreciate the depth and efficacy of chiropractic care that practitioners at Advanced Correction Chiropractic & Physical Therapy offer in Baltimore, MD, it is essential to understand its origins and the journey it has traversed over the years.

The history of chiropractic care is a testimony to the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the human endeavor to find solutions that are in harmony with the natural processes of the body. It is a field that has constantly evolved, adapted, and grown to incorporate scientific advancements while holding firm to its foundational principles.

As we embark on this historical journey, we invite prospective patients and other readers to open their minds to the fascinating world of chiropractic care, a world where healing comes through skilled hands guided by knowledge accrued over more than a century. It is a journey that takes us through time, introducing us to visionary individuals who dared to think differently, to seek out new pathways to health and wellbeing.

In this blog post, we will delve deep into the origins of chiropractic care, highlighting the key figures who played pivotal roles in its development, and the milestones that have marked its steady progress to become a respected and integral part of healthcare today.

Join us as we unravel the rich tapestry of chiropractic history, a journey of discovery, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of holistic wellness.

The Origins

In the late 19th century, a visionary by the name of Daniel David Palmer embarked on a journey that would forever change the landscape of healthcare. D.D. Palmer was initially a magnetic healer, a practice rooted in the belief of healing through magnetic forces. However, his inquisitive nature led him to delve deeper, exploring the intricate connections between the spine and the body's overall health.

The birth of chiropractic care can be traced back to a pivotal moment in 1895. D.D. Palmer encountered Harvey Lillard, a janitor who had been suffering from impaired hearing for over 17 years following a back injury. Palmer hypothesized that a misalignment in Lillard's spine could be affecting his hearing. Through a well-placed spinal adjustment, Lillard's hearing remarkably improved, marking the first successful chiropractic adjustment and laying the foundation for a new approach to health and wellness.

Following this breakthrough, D.D. Palmer began to formulate the theories and principles that would underpin chiropractic care. He introduced the concept of spinal subluxations, misalignments of the vertebrae that can impede the nervous system and affect overall health. Palmer believed in the body's innate ability to heal itself, a principle that emphasized restoring proper alignment to facilitate natural healing processes.

Palmer also introduced the term "chiropractic," derived from the Greek words "cheir" (hand) and "praktos" (done), essentially meaning "done by hand." This term beautifully encapsulated the hands-on approach to healing that chiropractic care embodies.

As Palmer continued his work, he began to document his findings meticulously, laying the groundwork for a practice that would soon gain traction and evolve into a respected healthcare profession. The early days were marked by a deep commitment to understanding the human body's intricacies, a journey of discovery that was both exciting and revolutionary.

Development and Evolution

As chiropractic care began to take shape, it was D.D. Palmer's son, Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer, who took the reins and propelled it to greater heights. B.J. Palmer recognized the potential of his father's discovery and worked tirelessly to develop and promote the practice. He introduced many innovations, including the incorporation of X-ray technology, which revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of spinal misalignments.

B.J. Palmer also focused on education, establishing the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897, which became a beacon of knowledge, training generations of chiropractors and fostering research and development in the field.

As the years progressed, chiropractic care embraced technological advancements to enhance its efficacy. Innovations such as spinal decompression therapy, laser therapy, and advanced imaging techniques have been integrated into chiropractic practices, offering more precise diagnoses and targeted treatments.

These advancements have allowed chiropractors to broaden their scope of practice, addressing a wider range of musculoskeletal issues and providing relief to countless patients worldwide.

Chiropractic care has not existed in isolation; over the decades, it has fostered synergies with other medical disciplines. Today, it is not uncommon to find chiropractors working alongside other healthcare professionals in multidisciplinary teams, offering a holistic approach to patient care.

Integration with other forms of medical care has enabled chiropractic care to offer a comprehensive approach to health and wellness, addressing not just the symptoms but the underlying causes of various health issues.

Key Milestones

The early 20th century marked a significant period in the history of chiropractic care as it sought legal recognition amidst a challenging landscape. The journey towards legalization was fraught with hurdles, including opposition from different quarters of the established medical community. However, the chiropractic community rallied, fighting for their right to practice and serve the patients who had come to rely on their expertise.

In 1913, chiropractic care achieved a monumental milestone when it received its first state license in Kansas. This opened the doors for other states to follow suit, gradually granting chiropractic care the legal standing it deserved. By the 1970s, all 50 states in the USA had recognized chiropractic care, a testament to its efficacy and the relentless efforts of the chiropractic community.

The establishment of chiropractic schools marked another significant milestone in the profession's history. These institutions became the bedrock of chiropractic education, nurturing generations of chiropractors equipped with the knowledge and skills to offer quality care. The Palmer School of Chiropractic, established by B.J. Palmer, stood as a pioneer, followed by other reputable institutions that have upheld the standards of chiropractic education.

Over the years, chiropractic care has been under the microscope, with researchers keen to understand its mechanisms and benefits. The latter half of the 20th century saw a surge in research activities, with numerous studies highlighting the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments in managing various musculoskeletal issues.

Today, a substantial body of evidence supports chiropractic care, showcasing its benefits in pain management, improved mobility, and overall wellness. This research has played a crucial role in gaining the trust of the wider medical community and the public, solidifying chiropractic care's place in modern healthcare.

Key Figures

As we have seen, D.D. Palmer stands as the founding father of chiropractic care. His visionary approach and deep curiosity laid the groundwork for a healthcare revolution. Palmer was not just a healer but a thinker, a man who dared to step outside the conventional paradigms of his time to explore new avenues of health and wellness. His legacy is one of innovation and the courage to pursue a path less traveled, setting the stage for a healthcare discipline that continues to thrive today.

B.J. Palmer, the son of D.D. Palmer, carried forward his father's legacy with remarkable zeal and determination. He not only expanded the scope of chiropractic care but also worked tirelessly to establish it as a legitimate and respected profession. B.J. Palmer's contributions to chiropractic education, through the establishment of the Palmer School of Chiropractic, have left an indelible mark on the profession, nurturing generations of chiropractors who continue to serve communities worldwide.

Other Notable Figures

The history of chiropractic care is graced with many other luminaries who have contributed significantly to its growth. Clarence Gonstead developed the Gonstead technique, a methodology that emphasized a biomechanical approach to chiropractic adjustments. Joe Janse, another pivotal figure, championed research and education in the chiropractic field, fostering a culture of scientific inquiry and evidence-based practice.

Other notable figures include Mabel Palmer, affectionately known as the "First Lady of Chiropractic," who played a crucial role in the educational aspects of the profession, and Fred Barge, a chiropractor and author who contributed immensely to the philosophical and clinical development of chiropractic care.


As we stand on the shoulders of the giants who paved the way for chiropractic care, we find ourselves in an era where this holistic approach to health and wellness is more relevant than ever. From the visionary insights of D.D. Palmer to the relentless efforts of B.J. Palmer and many others, chiropractic care has traversed a remarkable journey, evolving from a small practice to a globally recognized and respected profession.

Today, chiropractic care stands as a testament to the power of human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. It is a field that has grown not just in size but in-depth, offering a rich tapestry of techniques and approaches that cater to a diverse range of health concerns.

At Advanced Correction Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, we are proud to be part of this rich history, offering our patients a pathway to improved health and well-being through chiropractic care. Our approach is grounded in the principles established over a century ago, yet continually evolving to incorporate the latest advancements in the field.

As we look to the future, we see a bright horizon for chiropractic care. Research continues to unveil new potentials, and a new generation of chiropractors stands ready to carry the torch forward, guided by a philosophy of holistic care and a deep commitment to the well-being of their patients.

We invite you to explore the world of chiropractic care with us, to experience the benefits that come from a treatment approach that values the body's innate ability to heal and seeks to foster health through natural, non-invasive methods. It is a journey of discovery, of reconnecting with the body's inherent wisdom, and of finding pathways to health that are both effective and harmonious with the body's natural processes.

As we close this chapter of our exploration into the history of chiropractic care, we do so with a sense of gratitude for the pioneers who have paved the way and with excitement for the future that lies ahead. A future where chiropractic care continues to shine as a beacon of hope, offering relief and wellness to people from all walks of life.



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