Word of Palmer’s success in “curing” deafness traveled fast. Soon people with deafness from across the country were awaiting his miraculous treatment. Although he had some success in helping those with deafness he soon realized that many other conditions were benefiting from the same treatment. Over the succeeding months, patients came to Palmer with every conceivable problem, including flu, sciatica, migraine headaches, stomach complaints, epilepsy and heart trouble.
D.D. Palmer found each of these conditions responded well to the adjustments which he was calling “hand treatments.” Later with the help of Reverend Samuel Weed, they coined the term chiropractic — from the Greek words, Chiro, meaning (hand) and practic, meaning (practice or operation).
He renamed his clinic the Palmer School and Infirmary of Chiropractic. In 1898, he accepted his first students. Although he never used drugs, under Palmer’s care fevers broke, the pain ended, infections healed, vision improved, stomach disorders disappeared, and of course, hearing returned.
Often surprised at the effectiveness of his adjustments, D.D. Palmer returned to his studies of anatomy and physiology to learn more about the vital connection between the spine and one’s health.
He realized spinal adjustments to correct vertebral misalignments or subluxations, was eliminating nerve interference that caused the patients’ complaints.
Although Chiropractic was proving to be a successful way of healing the body it was not readily accepted. The medical community at the turn of the 20th century was afraid of Palmer’s success and began a crusade against Chiropractic. They wrote letters to the editors of local papers, openly criticizing his methods and accusing him of practicing medicine without a license.
D.D. Palmer defended himself against the doctors’ attacks by presenting arguments that he provided a unique service which they did not offer and pointed out the well-known risks of the many medical procedures of that era. He also cautioned against introducing medicine into the body saying it was often unnecessary and even harmful.
In 1905, D.D. Palmer was indicted for practicing medicine without a license. He was sentenced to 105 days in jail and was required to pay a $350 fine. D.D. served his time and paid his fine but this didn’t keep him from adjusting. His patients (including his jailor) came to his jail cell to get their adjustments.
D.D. continued his fight to promote Chiropractic publishing two books from 1906 to 1913, “The Science of Chiropractic” and “The Chiropractors Adjuster.” He adjusted patients until his death in Los Angeles at the age of 68.
D.D.’s son, Bartlett Joshua, was equally as enthusiastic about chiropractic as his father and continued his father’s work. Bartlett — or B.J. as he is now known — is credited with developing chiropractic into a clearly defined and unique health care system.
In 1902, B.J. graduated from the Palmer school started by D.D., and before long — with his wife and fellow graduate Mabel — was helping patients and taking on more and more responsibility for the school and the clinic. He also was instrumental in getting chiropractic recognized as a licensed profession.