The First Chiropractic Patient
Mr. Harvey Lillard
The First Chiropractic Patient was an African American man named, Harvey Lillard. Mr. Lillard was the owner/operator
of the janitorial company that maintained the building where Palmer had his office.
Lillard had told Palmer that he had suffered from back pain and that he had lost most hearing. Lillard added that he could no longer hear sounds like the clip-clopping of the horses just out side the window, or the ticking of his watch. Palmer asked Lillard how he had lost of his hearing. Lillard replied, that seventeens years prior, while bent over, in a stooped position, he heard something "pop" in his spine and immediately suffered a loss of most of his hearing.
The First Chiropractic Adjustment was given by Daniel David "D.D." Palmer to Harvey Lillard on September
18th, 1895, in Davenport Iowa, on the 4th floor of the Ryan Building at the corner of Second and Brady Streets.
For nine years prior to the First Chiropractic Adjustment, Palmer was a magnetic healer, a hands on therapy which was also practiced by many medical practitioners of the era.
A keen student of human anatomy and physiology, Palmer examined Lillard, and found a tender lump on the spine between his shoulders. He recognized the lump as a badly misaligned vertebra, and reasoned that since it had occurred when the man went deaf, restoring the vertebra to its proper position might also restore Lillard�s hearing. He presented his theory to Lillard and requested that he be allowed to try and realign the vertebra. Having known Palmer for years, and having seen the great number of people who sought his help, Lillard agreed to let him work on him.
Palmer reasoned that the body was controlled through the brain and nerve system by thousands of messages sent every second to control each structure and function within the body, and that pressure on the nerves could distort and block these messages as they traveled from the brain, to the spinal cord and on to the body. Palmer felt that Lillard's hearing loss was due to a blockage of the spinal nerves which control the inner ear. Ultimately, this nerve blockage and bone misalignment "vertebral subluxations", lessend the body's ability to function by disrupting communication over the nerve system. When Palmer corrected the misalignment by pushing the vertebrae back into place, the nerve pathways were reopened and thus Lillard's hearing was restored.