You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]

Follow Us


Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, the founder of the Gonstead System, graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1923. In the years following graduation, he used his background in mechanical engineering to broaden the principles of chiropractic. Dr. Gonstead developed a system that first specifically analyzes the function of the spine and nerves, and then along with x-ray findings allows the doctor to deliver a precise, carefully controlled adjustment.

Dr. Gonstead practiced for over 55 years and in that time had many accomplishments. With his passion in caring for all ages of people from all over the world, he was able to build the largest chiropractic practice which still exists today (see photo). Dr. Gonstead was known as the "chiropractor's chiropractor", and worked at all hours of the night, 7 days per week. His brilliance (and passion for his work) allowed him to see over 1 million patients over the course of his career while refining his method which is taught to doctors and students all over the world. Dr. Gonstead also developed the full spine x-ray, a heat detection instrument (nervoscope) and specific tables used for adjustments.

The Gonstead Analysis:

Your Gonstead chiropractor has specialized training in the system Dr. Gonstead invented. Your doctor will analyze your spine to detect for the presence of the vertebral subluxation complex. Generally speaking, a vertebral subluxation is nerve pressure produced from improperly functioning or misaligned spinal bones. To find out if you have vertebral subluxations, your Gonstead chiropractor uses five important criteria:

picinstrument.jpg 1. Instrumentation: The Gonstead chiropractor uses an instrument invented by Dr. Gonstead called a Nervoscope. The Nervoscope detects heat along the spine which is consistent with inflammation and pressure on nerves. The instrument has two probes and gently glides down each side of the spine during the examination.
picstatic.jpg 2. Static Palpation: When nerves are compressed and spinal joints malfunction they can produce swelling (edema) in that area as well as tightness in the muscles. Your Gonstead chiropractor will feel for these areas on your back and neck using the finger tips while you sit in a stationary position.
picmotion.jpg 3. Motion Palpation: When spinal segments malfunction, they can "lock up" or become too loose. By gently moving the spine in different ways, your Gonstead chiropractor can feel which segments move improperly.
picvisual.jpg 4. Visualization: Your Gonstead chiropractor visually looks for abnormalities in posture and gait that are uneven. This is important when taking into account all other criteria and making important decisions about your care.
picxray.jpg 5. X-Ray Analysis (except during pregnancy): The prior four analysis criteria allows your Gonstead chiropractor to find which spinal segment(s) are malfunctioning and the exact location of where nerve pressure exists. Spinal x-rays allow for a "blue print" of your spine which is important in determining specifically how the spinal segments involved are to be adjusted. X-Rays are also helpful in determining fracture, postural distortions, arthritic conditions, etc.

These five criteria allow your Gonstead chiropractor to locate your problem down to the individual segment and nerve involved. With this information along with a detailed heath history, your Gonstead chiropractor can deliver a precise adjustment in the most mechanically correct way to only the problem segments. In doing so, the goal is to eliminate nerve pressure caused by the effects of the subluxation and allow the body to function optimally.

Specialized training is required by your Gonstead chiropractor beyond the knowledge gained in chiropractic school. The training consists of hundreds of hours of seminar work study in adjusting technique, analysis as well as specialized case management of a variety of health conditions. (For more information about this specialized training, visit Gonstead Seminars).

What Dr. Gonstead left behind is a legacy; a system of chiropractic used to find and help correct the cause of spinal and extremity problems as well as other health issues. Dr. Gonstead was known for his dedication and for his phenomenal ability for getting sick people well without drugs or surgery. That same passion that drove him, still fires the hearts of Gonstead chiropractors today.