The Origin of Chiropractic Adjustment

vintage drawing of chiropractic bones

Chiropractic medicine has had a long and interesting history. The word chiropractic comes from two Greek words, “cheir” meaning hand and “praktos” meaning done. Historically, chiropractic medicine traces back to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. Hippocrates, in his book on joints, wrote about a cure for scoliosis through spinal adjustments followed by exercise. Hippocrates work was so influential that other doctors throughout history continued to quote him regarding other types of adjustments including the 10th, 16th, and 17th century1. His influence was so great that we get the Hippocratic Oath from his name. Despite his early findings, it wasn’t until the 19th century that chiropractic was established as a medical practice.

Chiropractic Begins

first chiropractor Daniel David Palmer In 1895, Daniel David Palmer discovered a method to treating certain ailments through chiropractic adjustments. As a physician, Palmer had a keen interest in the spine and how it affected health. Palmer recounts on of his early patients, a janitor, who became deaf over the course of a year. During a visit on September 18, 1895, Palmer claimed that he adjusted the janitor and as a result, his hearing returned. Though the claim is disputed by some, what is certain is that Dr. Palmer did, in fact, treat a number of patients through that entire year.2 As a result, the practice of chiropractic medicine was born.

The Founding of A Chiropractic School

In 1897, Dr. Palmer started the Palmer College of Chiropractic to further instruct and build upon the field of medicine. One of his first pupils was his son, Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer, who further developed procedures and manipulations based on his father’s instruction. Together their work impacted the health industry and made chiropractic a recognized medical field. Today, the Palmer School of Chiropractic continues to educate and train doctors in chiropractic adjustment and manipulation.


The history of chiropractic medicine can give us an appreciation for the advances in medicine. Pioneers like Hippocrates and D.D. Palmer continue to impact the medical field making each of our lives better. If it wasn’t for the discoveries of these two men we may not have good approaches to deal with back and neck pain, hand and foot injuries, and internal issues due to misalignment. Chiropractors help heal us from all types of injuries sustained through casualties like auto accidents, work injuries, sports accidents, and life mishaps.