The Gonstead System
The Gonstead System is unique because it is thorough, complete and specific in both analyzing and adjusting the spine. The Gonstead practitioner addresses your entire spine when evaluating for the presence of vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments producing nerve interference or irritation) which produces ill health.
The Gonstead Concept of chiropractic begins with a basic biomechanical principle of physics. Every engineer, architect, builder and carpenter knows the importance of a proper foundation in constructing a building, for this insures durability and long life. Any slight change or shift in the foundation can cause a great amount of deviation in the top part of the structure and, perhaps, ultimately, its collapse.
The Gonstead Analysis
The Gonstead Chiropractor conducts a thorough analysis of your spine using five criteria to detect the presence of the vertebral subluxation complex.The full spine radiograph is an integral assessment tool in the Gonstead system. Other important Gonstead examination procedures include static and dynamic palpation primarily of paraspinal bone structure and soft tissue, visualization of spinal motion, posture, gait and physical signs of inflammation near the joints, instrumentation such as para-spinal skin temperature assessment and other tools, which are used to examine all facets of the patient’s neuro-muscular-skeletal characteristics.
X-ray films enable your doctor to visualize the entire structure of your spine. This is helpful in evaluating for any disease process, fracture, posture, joint and disc integrity and vertebral misalignments. This will help to specify the Chiropractic adjustments for more efficient structure in the body so that adaptation to stress is more efficient. The most important part of seeing x-ray is to see if the Chiropractic adjustments are improving degeneration, changing the structure of the spine, and further specify the chiropractic adjustments for the clients.
The instrumentation of choice in the Gonstead System is the Nervoscope. 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. Dr. Gonstead’s development of the Spinal Thermography analysis enabled practitioners to objectively pinpoint the neurological components of a subluxation by measuring bilateral temperature differences in the spine, effectively checking the nerves at each spinal level.
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 edema), tenderness and any abnormal texture or tightness in the muscles and other tissues of your back.
This process involves feeling the spine while moving and bending it at various angles. This enables the chiropractor to determine how easily or difficult each segment in your spine moves in different directions.
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. Visualization as a criteria in the Gonstead System combines observation of both the patient's static posture and changes in motion patterns that are caused by subluxation. Static postural assessment examines whether structures on the patient's body are being held in a natural symmetrical manner or whether they are being held in positions that are abnormal. Examples might include unleveled shoulders, twisted pelvis, flared foot position, or head tilt. These abnormal "carrying" positions can be the result of both acute and chronic patterns of subluxation. When combined with the patient's case history, visualization of static posture can give clues to the direction of misalignments.
The Gonstead Adjustment
After a complete analysis, the Gonstead practitioner is ready to deliver any necessary spinal adjustments. The focus of the Gonstead adjustment is to be as specific, precise and accurate as possible, addressing only the problem areas (areas of subluxation). Great care is taken to ensure a mechanically correct position and precise thrust to provide the most accurate and painless adjustment possible. It is the goal of your Gonstead doctor to restore and maintain optimal health by locating and correcting any interference to the nervous system caused by vertebral subluxation.
Rather than a “shotgun” approach to care where any or all levels of involvement are adjusted on the same visit, Gonstead adjustments are directed at specifically selected levels of involvement for maximum restoration and balance of function. The notion of ‘primary’ versus ‘secondary’ subluxations, and subluxation versus compensation were largely developed by Dr. Gonstead. For every subluxation there is compensation. Further, certain subluxations will likely be exerting more influence on the overall bodily health status than others. Focusing spinal adjustments on primary subluxations is an important part of the Gonstead system of care.
The Gonstead History
Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead practiced chiropractic from 1923 until 1978. He decided to become a chiropractor after chiropractic adjustments allowed his body to heal from a painful, crippling episode of rheumatoid arthritis. Using his background in mechanical engineering and extensive hours spent studying cadaver spines, he developed a unique approach to applying chiropractic care. His application brought him both national and international acclaim, and he was known as the “chiropractor’s chiropractor.” His practice located in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin (population 4000) drew patients from all over the world, and is still the largest to have existed to date. Dr. Gonstead’s brilliant mind and lifelong experience of treating over one million patients enabled him to develop and refine his technique that is now taught and practiced by doctors all over the world.