What is Gonstead chiropractic?

Chiropractic began with Daniel D. Palmer giving his first adjustment in September 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. Today, there are many methods used by chiropractors to correct spinal misalignments, joint dysfunctions and subluxation complexes. Many techniques are identified by the name of the person who was most instrumental in their development. One of the most advanced and scientific methods is a technique called: The Gonstead System.

Dr. Gonstead developed his procedures as a result of extensive clinical research in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. These procedures were developed over many years of clinical observation and research to work out how to get sick patients well. Dr. Gonstead’s fifty-five years of continuous practice and over four million chiropractic adjustments resulted in a most complete method of biomechanical analysis for use by today’s Doctors of Chiropractic.

The Gonstead System is taught in many Chiropractic schools around the world.

The Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic, completed in 1964, was the third and final clinic Dr. Gonstead would design and treat patients from in this little town of Mt. Horeb before his death in 1978. Dr. Gonstead built the largest chiropractic facility in the world. A 22,000 square foot clinic, it had a waiting room to seat over100 patients, 11 adjusting rooms, x-ray facilities and lab, and a lower level to hold Chiropractic seminars. It was to become the most renowned chiropractic facility in the world. Next to his new clinic, Dr. Gonstead added a 78 room, full-service motel to accommodate the clinic's numerous long distance patients.

What to Expect as a Patient

The Gonstead approach is full spine chiropractic. This means Gonstead chiropractors don’t just examine the area that hurts. They recognise that problems in one area of the spine can cause symptoms elsewhere in the body and examine the body accordingly. Your chiropractor is concerned with locating problem areas in the spine (and other joints) that chiropractors term “subluxation”. Chiropractors identify subluxation where there is impaired spinal or joint function with inflammation, lack of mobility and interference to normal nerve activity.

The Gonstead chiropractor’s aim is to correct the subluxation, so that your body can function normally and resume its natural healing process.

In addition to any indicated orthopaedic or neurological tests your Gonstead chiropractor uses the following methods of analysis in your evaluation:

History - Your Chiropractor will take a thorough history of your presenting complaint and include your overall health and medical history. This can assist in determining if you are a Chiropractic case.

Visualization – Visualization is a way to cross reference all the other findings. Your chiropractor is an expert in looking for subtle changes in your posture and movement which could indicate any problems. 

Instrumentation – Your Gonstead Chiropractor will use an instrument called a ‘Nervoscope’, which measures skin temperature on either side of the spine. The Nervoscope detects uneven distributions of heat along the spine which can be indicative of inflammation and nerve pressure. This instrument is guided down the length of your back and feels like two fingers gliding down each side of your spine.

Static Palpation – This is simply the process of feeling (or palpating) your spine in a stationary (or static) position. Your chiropractor will feel for the presence of swelling (or oedema), tenderness and any abnormal texture or tightness in the muscles and other tissues of your back.

Motion Palpation – This process involves feeling the spine while moving and bending it. This enables the chiropractor to determine how each segment in your spine moves in different directions.

X-Ray Analysis – Clarence Gonstead pioneered standing, full spine X-rays. These are an extremely valuable tool, used to help determine what is wrong and where. When clinically indicated, X-rays enable your Chiropractor to visualize the entire structure of your spine. This is helpful in evaluating posture, joint and disc integrity, vertebral alignment and ruling out any pathologies, or recent fractures that may be present or contributing to the patient’s condition. These radiographs are taken in the standing, weight-bearing position.

When all this information is combined, a trained Gonstead Doctor will immediately let you know if your health problem is a Chiropractic case. If not, a referral to the appropriate health provider will be given.

The Correction-A specific Gonstead adjustment

If your case is a Chiropractic case, the trained Gonstead practitioner's goal is to utilize the specific Gonstead adjustment to get you back on the road to health as quickly as possible with no "pre-planned" treatment programs, and then give you adequate time between consultations for healing and stabilization. In the words of Dr. Gonstead, "Find the subluxation, correct it, and then leave it alone.”

The focus of the Gonstead adjustment is to be as specific, precise and accurate as possible, addressing only the problem areas. Great care is taken to ensure a mechanically correct position and precise thrust to provide the most accurate and painless adjustment possible. 

Your Gonstead Chiropractor will explain the healing process, what to expect and when. They will be happy to talk to you about appropriate exercises, diet and lifestyle, in order for you to achieve your best results.

You will be encouraged to ask questions. We believe the more you understand, and the more you are involved with your care, th3e greater your health.