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REFERENCES TO THE HARVEY LILLARD CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT (1895)
This section is dedicated to the Green Books of Chiropractic. I will
review and summarize various chapters which I think may be of interest,
or thought provoking. I have already provided one Green Books summary
on my site. It discusses Palmer's Hole-in-one theory and conclusions
regarding subluxations. Please click on the following link for further
Picture 'Harvey Lillard': The Green Books; Compiled Rob Sinnott, D.C.; ©Chiropractic
Books 1997; Volume 1:1920 - Page 60
In my readings about chiropractic I obviously came across references
to the Harvey Lillard adjustment by D.D. Palmer. For those people
who are not aware
of this little piece of history I will summarize briefly.
In 1895 D.D. Palmer discovered a bump in the 'back' (I'll get to this
shortly) of Harvey Lillard, his janitor who was deaf and had been so
for 17 years or so, and proceeded to adjust 'a displaced 4th dorsal vertebra'
back into position at which point Mr. Lillard's hearing was reportedly
restored. You will come across many references to this adjustment and
quite rightly the exact causal mechanisms are being debated.
For example, there are suggestions by Marsarsky that a subluxation
at T4 could be "responsible for preganglionic outflow to the stellate
and superior cervical ganglion… and "our current understanding
of the sympathetic innervation of the cochlear vasculature… seems
to suggest that a probable explanation exists". As a past sufferer
of tinnitus I can tell you that on occasions when my tinnitus, fullness
etc. were at their worst, both my neck and back pain were most noticeable.
For me, even a bite splint provided by a dentist halted the tinnitus
and ear problems in their tracks. Utilization of the jaw caused problems
to start again, including back and neck pain. There are numerous muscular
connections between the cervical spine, shoulder and jaw musculature.
Thus any usage (eating, talking & yawning) can and does, cause spasms
in the cervical and shoulder muscles to occur. This could affect structures
Which vertebra was actually adjusted in Mr.
Lillard's back in 1895? If you read the Chiropractic
Green Books you will note the following references to the Harvey Lillard adjustment.
On page 137 of D. D. Palmer's book, THE SCIENCE, ART, AND PHILOSOPHY
OF CHIROPRACTIC (1911), is a picture of Harvey Lillard. Underneath, is
this statement: "The above is a likeness of Harvey Lillard, the
first person who received a Chiropractic adjustment from the hands of
D. D. Palmer."
"On Sept. 18, 1895, Harvey Lillard called upon me. He was so deaf
for seventeen years that he could not hear the noises on the street.
Mr. Lillard informed me that he was in a cramped position and felt something
give IN HIS BACK. I replaced the displaced 4TH DORSAL VERTEBRA by one
move, which restored his hearing." D.D. Palmer
Comments from B.J. Palmer:
My father was at all times and in all ways an honest man, not given to
misrepresentations, evasions, or deceit in anything he said, wrote, or
printed. He was factual in all professional statements but one - which
we here now correct.
We consistently and repeatedly have said it was NOT "4th dorsal
vertebra" but was AXIS that was adjusted in Harvey Lillard. Why
this discrepancy, this disagreement?
In those early days, there was no mention of "vertebral subluxation" in
ANY book on anatomy or orthopedic surgery. It was something NEW, even
to my father. All medical books WERE FULL OF DISLOCATIONS. All medical
books said that if anything happened in the backbone IT WAS A DISLOCATION,
and all strenuously warned and advised against any fooling with the bones
OF THE NECK particularly, because TO DO SO WOULD PRODUCE A DISLOCATION
AND PRODUCE COMPLETE PARALYSIS OF THE BODY BELOW.
What had father done? Had he set a DISLOCATION? If so, it was a
dangerous thing to do.
In those early days, father's idea was in stage of growing pains. He
did not want ANYBODY to do ANYTHING to NECKS, for fear of consequences.
He taught his earliest students, "Stay away from THE NECK because
you MIGHT produce paralysis and thus destroy my new work which is just
beginning to take shape. If some of you boys should fool around with
necks and paralyze people, you easily could kill my new work before we
get it established."
For this reason only, my father covered up WHAT he did, WHERE he did
it, to avoid dangers that COULD occur. For THIS reason ONLY, he said
WHAT he did and WHERE he did it was "4th dorsal vertebra."
Why do I say it was "the axis"? Because I was there and SAW
WHAT HE DID, WHERE he did it-and it WAS the axis.
We since have learned much about cervical vertebral subluxations which
are common in almost every person, which are NOT dislocations; and ADJUSTING
THEM BY HAND ONLY is easy and is NOT fraught with danger when done correctly
Source: The Green Books; Compiled Rob Sinnott, D.C.; ©Chiropractic
Books 1997; Chapter 7 - Pages 117-118
So there you have it. According to B.J. Palmer, the adjustment given
that day back in 1895 was to Harvey Lillard's axis (C2) vertebra and
not to T4 (thoracic). But does it mean that a T4 subluxation does not
affect hearing? Not sure, however as most upper cervical chiropractors
will know subluxations in the upper cervical spine (C1 and C2) do in
fact affect the spinal column throughout, causing secondary misalignment
as the skeleton realigns underneath the skull. As a result of scoliosis
there could be the potential for muscular interference to structures
within the vicinity of the T4 vertebra.
Therefore I put to you that there may be a connection between back problems
and hearing disorders. I am also aware that upper cervical adjustments
correct scoliosis resulting from atlas subluxations, and therefore it
stands to reason that a correction of an upper cervical subluxation can
correct 'misalignments' below C1 and even at T4.
Whilst I'm certain that the debate will continue, the important thing
is to get more studies started which investigate upper cervical chiropractic
so that we patients can benefit.
PURCHASE THE GREENBOOKS
The “Green Books” cover a broad spectrum, that of which is chiropracTIC in its true essence. As the profession has blossomed into its present day arrangement, it has undergone many pivotal and transitional changes which account for its unique identity today. Efforts to place some of these often cryptic time periods in the professions identity are captured in the Green Book volumes. Some of this context needs to be elucidated. Included in these books are links to relevant information and history, behind some of the most renowned are the chiropracTIC Green Books..
So if you are interested in knowing more about the green books that were written by the developer of chiropractic, BJ Palmer and a few other people, or you would like to purchase some green books, please go to http://www.chiropracticbooks.com/
The Green Books CD can be obtained by contacting Rob Sinnott, DC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M: Subluxation and the Special Senses,
Chap 13, pp184, ‘Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic’-An
Evidence Based Approach. Pennsylvania, 2001, Churchill Livingston.
- The Green Books; Compiled Rob Sinnott, D.C.; ©Chiropractic Books
1997. Chapter 7 – Pages 117-118