Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 20150
  Title Before chiropractors and osteopaths did anything, an English physician did it all: A comparative review of Edward Harrison's tome
Journal Chiropr Hist. 2007 Winter;27(2):79-85
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article

This paper discusses the understanding Edward Harrison (1766-1838) had of the principles and theories of vertebral subluxation as published in his 1827 book Pathological and Practical Observations on Spinal Diseases, Illustrated With Cases and Engravings, also an Enquiry into the Origin and Cure of Distorted Limbs. Harrison’s observations were published fifty-seven years before D.D. Palmer discovered chiropractic and thirty-seven years before Still discovered osteopathy. Harrison was well-versed in the history of spinal care and claimed to originate ideas chiropractors view as their own, including the description of subluxation compared with luxation, the causal relationship of vertebral visceral neuropathology, the theory that subluxation may be involved in nearly all disease, the intervertebral foramina as a source of stretching the spinal nerve sheath, the concept of spinal “tone,” the stretching of articular ligaments as a cause of vertebral subluxation, and the use of the “manual thrust” to correct the subluxation.

Harrison described the contact areas on the vertebrae for adjustment, was the first to complain about repetitive strain injury while treating the patient, designed a handheld instrument to assist the thrust, formed a theory of “chronic” subluxation, used vertebral “prominence” and position as a diagnostic sign, discarded exercise as a form of treatment for subluxation, and used the word “manipulation” to describe his treatment. Upon the occasional death of his clients, he confirmed the vertebral organ neuropathology by autopsy.

This paper discusses Harrison’s observations in relation to the later development of chiropractic theory and knowledge, especially D.D. Palmer’s theories of spinous malposition, vertebral subluxation, nerve tone and spinal adjustment, Langworthy’s description of the “Bohemian thrust,” Oakley Smith’s theory of “ligatite,” Swanberg’s observations of the IVF, the current value of physical therapy exercise programs, current anatomical observations, Abram’s reflexes and adjusting instruments, and Fuhr’s adjusting instrument.

This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text.

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