To hear or not to hear

Y’all, I’ve been busy, and I’m sorry that I’ve neglected this medium. I have a story to share that has nothing to do with COVID-19. (Regarding that, I hope that you are all staying healthy.)

The history of chiropractic is inspiring, dramatic, ironic, and tragic. My favorite part is the beginning, wherein D.D. Palmer delivered the first chiropractic adjustment for Harvey Lillard. It’s an amazing story, so amazing, in fact, that it’s looked upon with more doubt than wonder these days.

Harvey Lillard was a janitor who worked in close proximity to D.D. Palmer. Mr. Lillard remarked to D.D. Palmer that he had lost his hearing at the age of 17, after hearing a “pop” in his back. D.D. Palmer examined Mr. Lillard. After finding a bony protrusion between the patient’s shoulders, he asked Mr. Lillard if he could push the bone back into its proper position. Mr. Lillard consented, and D.D. Palmer delivered the first chiropractic adjustment. A few days later, Harvey Lillard reported that his hearing had returned.

What’s amazing about this story is not just that the first chiropractic adjustment restored hearing for a deaf man. What’s more amazing is that the first chiropractic adjustment to the thoracic spine (between the shoulders) restored hearing for a deaf man.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to reliably reproduce this result. Imagine my wonderment then, when a patient remarked giddily after I adjusted him, “It’s weird. I feel that I can hear better.” These days, I treat only active duty service members, many of whom have bilateral hearing loss. His speaking this truth was unbelievably validating. Generally, I have to prompt patients by asking if they feel better, worse, or the same as they felt when they were in the waiting room, and they typically respond that they feel better, worse, or the same. This particular utterance, then, was staunchly atypical. It was as if I was hearing his innate intelligence speak, without filter or editing.

I went about the rest of my day with a bounce in my step. And I’m happy to report that the bounce hasn’t subsided.

2 thoughts on “To hear or not to hear

  1. Great to hear from you and this story. How are you liking your new life?

    I am going to a hypnotist for weight loss who suggested I write my life story. Been doing that during lockdown and upto 50 pages with pictures. The lockdown playing havoc on weight. My sciatica pain is gone but lower back discomfort remains. Was going for osteopathic manipulation before lockdown. Even had four sessions while in india forv2 months. Keep well Sai Bhatia

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Sai, wonderful to hear from you! I am doing well and staying healthy. It has been an adjustment, but I like it here and I love a challenge. If you’re willing to share, I’d like to read your life story!


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