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History of Chiropractic Care

Original illustration "The First Adjustment," by John Dreuss,
courtesy Chiropractic Centennial Foundation

1895 D.D. Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment on Harvey Illlard, a janitor in his office building, in Davenport. The spinal adjustment helped relieve Illlard's deafness.
1897 D.D. Palmer decided to open a chiropractic school in Davenport, which eventually became known as the Palmar School of Chiropractic. Five of the first 15 graduates were also medical doctors. About half were women.
The first two chiropractic textbooks were published, one by D.D. Palmer and his son; BJ. Palmer. D.D. Palmer was tried and convicted of practicing medicine without a license. He served 23 days of a 105-day sentence, then paid a $350 fine to be released. That same year, the Universal Chiropractors Association formed in Davenport. It provided legal counsel and defense funds for chiropractors jailed for practicing medicine without a license.
1907 In a landmark Wisconsin case, a Judge and jury found Shegataro Morikubo, D.C., a graduate of the Palmer School of Chiropractic, innocent of practicing medicine, surgery and osteopathy without a license. Why? Morikubo was not practicing medicine, surgery or osteopathy; he was practicing chiropractic.
1913 Kansas passed the first state law to license chiropractors.
1941 The first standards for accrediting chiropractic schools and colleges was set up by John Nugent, D.C., the director of education for the National Chiropractic Association. In that same year, 12 chiropractic colleges were accredited.
1944 Congress passed the G.I. Bill, which made benefits available to World War II veterans who planned to study chiropractic.
1963 The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners was incorporated. The board helped set national licensing standards for chiropractors.
1972 Congress voted to include chiropractic care under Medicare.
1974 Louisiana passed a law allowing chiropractors to be licensed, becoming the final state to do so.
1974 Congress appropriated 52 million for the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke to hold a conference on the research status of spinal manipulation at the National Institute of Health In Bethesda, Md. The workshop, held in 1975, was a major acknowledgment of the scientific respectability of chiropractic. For the first time, chiropractors, physicians and scientists met on an equal level to discuss spinal therapy.
1976 Five chiropractors filed an anti-trust suit in Chicago's U.S. District Court against the American Medical Association and a host of other major medical groups. The case was sparked by the AMA's decades-old, blatant anti-chiropractic campaign. After a two-month trial, the jury found that the AMA's campaign against chiropractic was legal.
1987 Chiropractors appealed the 1976 decision and won. The court forced the AMA to stop its attack on chiropractic and allow its members to refer patients to chiropractors. The judge stated In the decision, "The purpose of the (AMA's) boycott was to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession. This conduct constituted a conspiracy among the AMA and its members."
1989 A study published In the Western Journal of Medicine described chiropractic patients as three times more satisfied with their low back pain care than patients of family practice physicians.
1993 The Mange Report, commissioned and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health, said that chiropractic care is the most effective and cost- efficient way to care for low back pain.
1994 The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, concluded that spinal manipulation Is a recommended and effective early treatment for low back problems in adults.
1995 Chiropractic celebrates its centennial. Grand celebrations are held In Washington, D.C., and In Davenport, Iowa, the birthplace of chiropractic, to commemorate the profession's progress during its first century.