Black History Month: The First-Ever Chiropractic Adjustment

The next time you settle down for an adjustment, you should thank Harvey Lillard – the first-ever chiropractic patient.

In 1895, Lillard, an African-American janitor and entrepreneur, allowed D.D. Palmer to adjust his spine.

As the story goes, Lillard and Palmer worked in the same office building. On Lillard’s account, he had previously suffered hearing loss and injury after putting his body into a compromising position.

When Palmer offered to take a look at his spine, he discovered a lump just between his shoulders. Lillard then allowed Palmer to perform the first-ever adjustment.

After two treatments, Lillard’s condition greatly improved.

Lillard continued to receive treatments and was quick to share the good news with anyone who would listen – which helped raise awareness towards Palmer’s work.

Every year on September 18th, the chiropractic community celebrates the day Lilllard’s adjustment was documented as occurring.

In doing so, we also honor that the discovery of Chiropractic Physical Medicine would not have been possible without Harvey Lillard’s contributions.