People often confuse the Gonstead Technique for regular chiropractic care. Although both techniques are used for the same general idea of helping relieve pain, a Gonstead Chiropractor is from a different school of thought.
The Gonstead Technique is a subspecialty of chiropractic that focuses on the body’s nervous system and how it relates to musculoskeletal conditions. This technique was originated by Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978), who sought chiropractic care after experiencing leg and foot pains that were resistant to conventional medical treatment. This event made Dr. Gonstead pursue a chiropractic education.
It focuses on the spinal column and the intervertebral discs. Balance and stability in the spine can be achieved when the pelvis, vertebrae, and legs are level. Primary considerations in Gonstead’s chiropractic health care are foundational unleveling, intervertebral misalignments, spine motion disturbances, and nerve dysfunction. The intervertebral disc is the most critical structure in causing spinal subluxations. Gonstead adjustments are designed to affect the discs while restoring normal alignment and motion.
Some of the tools often used are:
Full Spine X-rays
The full spine X-ray is an essential part of Gonstead chiropractic care. In addition to examining a patient’s spine, Gonstead doctors also use other methods, including palpation and instrumentation. The full spine X-ray helps Gonstead chiropractors determine the position of all spinal bones and any misalignment that may be present. They are also used to evaluate bone density and bone structure. In addition, these X-rays will provide clear images that can be used for comparison over time.
Differential Skin Temperature Meter
They can use a differential skin temperature meter (DST) instrument, which measures the skin temperature on either side of your spine. This device is used in conjunction with X-rays to provide information regarding the health of each spinal bone and any misalignment that may be present. The Gonstead chiropractor will analyze the full spine radiograph by making measurements on the film to assess the relative positions of the adjacent vertebrae and the pelvis region. These measurements translate into listings that the chiropractor utilizes to direct specific adjustment forces.
Hydraulic Hi-Lo Table
The Hi-Lo table, with special modifications made specifically for Dr. Gonstead many years ago, is designed to accommodate a wide variety of patients, including pregnant women. The knee-chest table was one of Dr. Gonstead’s uniquely emphasized tables, which facilitates the posterior to anterior corrections of subluxation and repositions of the posterior displaced intervertebral disc.
Lumbar or Pelvic Table Adjustment
Chiropractic spinal adjustments are made on the Gonstead table in several ways. Dr. Gonstead’s unique method of adjusting the lumbar spine is performed while the patient is in a prone position, with their arms locked out and pressed against the chest. Another way to adjust this area is by having the patient lie face down on a pelvic table with their knees bent toward their chest.
The knee-chest table is a great way to adjust pregnant women. The Cervical Chair is most commonly used for cervical adjustments, although some Gonstead chiropractors may perform prone adjustments on a Hi-Lo table or Knee-Chest table.
Cervical Chair Adjustment
The Cervical Chair technique is a Gonstead adjustment that emphasizes the practitioner’s ability to ‘lift’ the vertebra in the cervical spine. Dr. Gonstead developed this technique because hyper-extension misalignment is common in this spine region.