In 1862 an extraordinary papyrus was discovered by Edwin Smith, an American Egyptologist in Luxor, Egypt. This unique papyrus, named the Smith papyrus, has caused commotion around the world. It is the oldest known medical document written in the Middle Egyptian hieratic script and harbors 377 lines of text on the front and 92 on the back. It is currently kept under lock and key at the New York Academy of Sciences.
This papyrus not only contains surgical practices but also diagnoses, treatments and prognoses of 48 neurosurgical and orthopedic cases. Including 27 head injuries cases and six spinal injuries cases —practices far beyond the supposed knowledge of ancient Egypt.
The cases presented in the Smith papyrus are similar to that used by modern physicians. Every case begins with the history of the patient and then moves on to a physical investigation. Patients with untreatable ailments were given sedative care by the surgeon. There is one case in particular that describes a treatment for a dislocated jaw. The interesting part is the practice performed then is the exact same practice we perform today: