In the mid 1880’s, D.D. Palmer practiced magnetic healing with an investigation into health and well-being with a different set of lenses. He was looking further into that which you couldn’t see with the naked eye.
Through his practice, he was searching for the answer as to why two different people with similar living conditions can have different levels of well-being: one with a lack of health and well-being and the other with manifestations of a lack of well-being.
D.D. Palmer’s magnetic healing practices produced the framework for his conceptualization of Vertebral Subluxation.
His first theory in regards to why people suffer from a lack of well-being was that there is a root cause of inflammation producing interference to normal function. This first theory was not new in the health care world. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was using terms like edema as early as the 5th Century B.C. Inflammation was known in the healing arts, but what wasn’t being investigated was a viewpoint that well-being and the deviation away from normal was an inside-out process.
In his early writings, he was looking at health and well-being as a paradigm on a scale of wholeness and a deviation towards dis-ease and then disease with an inside contributory factor(s). His original theory leading up to the discovery of vertebral subluxation demonstrated the attention to detail in physiology and the ability to use logical reasoning when looking at cause and effect relationships within the human body.
D.D. Palmer’s years of serving people through magnetism with a background in spiritualism, vitalism and naturalism gave clarification to his original theory that areas within the body, usually an organ system, were not functioning properly due to inflammation. This clarity brought him to focus on neurology and the role the nerve system plays in well-being.
With D.D. Palmer’s original theory involving inflammation being a contributing factor to the body requiring healing, his search for areas that were inflamed led him to the spine and the intervertebral forearm canel (IVF). The IVF is an opening or hole between two spinal vertebrae. The openings are present between every pair of vertebrae and are where the root of the spinal nerves, veins and arteries and the veins and the recurrent meningeal nerves are located.
D.D. Palmer became focused on studying the neuroskeleton and how IVF can be an area within the body that “pinches or produces pressure” on the surrounding tissues. This led to his second theory that the neurological system is intimately involved in the difference between wholeness and dysfunction. He took his first theory and refined it to his new discovery that vertebrae can become displaced, shifted from proper alignment and contribute to inflammation of the neurological system.
At this time, inflammation was viewed strictly in the lens of vascular and a new profession was being originated by Dr. Andrew Still, referred to as Osteopathy. Osteopathy and Chiropractic theories were being developed at the same time. In order to differentiate the professional objectives, D.D. Palmer took his second theory about what contributes to a lack of well-being being displaced vertebrae producing inflammation and pinching of the tissue and applied it specifically to the neurological system instead of the vascular system.
The discovery and conceptualization of vertebral subluxation was founded in theory that hard bones pinch soft nerves in the IVF region of the spine, producing inflammation of the nerves which leads to ill health or dysfunction. This process of forming a new concept “vertebral subluxation” was built around sound reasoning and clinical support from D.D. Palmer practicing his art on his community.
With his new discovery of vertebral subluxation, he changed his title from Magnetic Healer to Chiropractor and defined the location, the philosophy and art of locating, analyzing and facilitating the correction of vertebral subluxation in the spinal column through adjustments as Chiropractic.