May the Highly Directed Force be With You!
Dr Clarence Gonstead was another true health pioneer in the world of chiropractic. His clinic became so popular it had its own hotel, golf course and landing strip! The technique itself centered around a careful assessment of spinal alignment, normally utilising X-rays. Followed by specific adjustments to realign the spine.
The approach is simple and effective, though not suited to all as it requires the use of highly directed force.
Gonstead procedures are the result of extensive clinical research by Clarence S.Gonstead, founder of the world famous Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. Doctor Gonstead’s fifty-five years of continuous practice and over four million chiropractic adjustments resulted in a successful method of bio mechanical analysis available for use by today’s doctors of chiropractic.
The “Gonstead Chiropractor”
The Gonstead Chiropractor goes beyond what many chiropractors consider a spinal assessment by conducting a thorough analysis of your spine using five criteria to detect the presence of the vertebral subluxation complex.
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 – The instrument of choice in the Gonstead System is the Nervo-scope. The Nervo-scope 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. At the Pain Relief Centres we have moved beyond this, using technology invented by a NASA engineer, allowing you to see a clear readout of what is happening.
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 edema), 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 at various angles. This enables the chiropractor to determine how easily or difficult each segment in your spine moves in different directions.
X-Ray Analysis – x-ray films enable your doctor to visualize the entire structure of your spine. This is helpful in evaluating posture, joint and disc integrity, vertebral misalignment and ruling out any pathology, or recent fractures that may be present or contributing to the patient’s condition. These full-spine radio-graphs are taken in the standing, weight-bearing position to fully substantiate the examination findings. In today’s world it is frowned upon to take x-rays unless necessary. Although there is a case for X-raying almost everyone prior to chiropractic care, we at the Pain Relief Centre feel it is not necessary from a potential negative (radiation exposure) health viewpoint. Modern X-ray machines however are producing less and less radiation (and therefore danger) and there may be a point in the future where the balance changes.
The Basic Principles of the Gonstead Method of Chiropractic Analysis
The Gonstead concept of chiropractic begins with a basic 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 body’s foundation is formed by the pelvic girdle. When this bony structure consisting of hip bones and the lower bones of the back is level, there will be maximum balance and stability in the spinal column. When the pelvic girdle or any of the vertebrae (bones making up the spinal column) become tilted or rotated out of their proper position, dramatic changes may occur in the body.
These misalignment’s can cause pressure on the discs that allow movement between the vertebrae. (The condition of the disc is the key to the patient’s health problem in many cases, in the opinion of pure Gonstead practitioners). Vertebrae can become misaligned either from the cumulative effects of several minor episodes or from a single accident. Nature frequently is able to cope with these jolts to the spinal column without assistance. Sometimes, though, vertebrae tilted or rotated out of their normal position can be too much for nature to deal with effectively.
In order to more fully understand what occurs, we should know that the discs are really pads between the vertebrae and consist of a spongy substance, like toothpaste, surrounded by fibers of cartilage. When there is misalignment of a vertebra, there is uneven pressure on the disc causing it to swell and protrude. (One often hears this referred to as a slipped, herniated, bulging, or ruptured disc.)
Chiropractors call this condition a SUBLUXATION when it results in the pinching, compression, or interference with the nerves that run through that particular area, SOT practitioners (see SOT page) also define a subluxation as a disorder of the spinal, pelvic or cranial bones which is interfering with, or prohibits the correction of, the secretion, fluctuation and absorption of cerebro spinal fluid. These compressed nerves often become inflamed and impede the proper transmission of impulses to the section of the body controlled by these nerves. A seemingly endless list of ailments and pain may be brought about by these subluxations.