Gonstead Chiropractic Technique
What is Gonstead?
The technique was named after one of the most significant contributors to the chiropractic profession. Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead was of Norwegian descent and graduated chiropractic school in 1923. He had an engineering background which shows the precision of his work. If you had to describe the type of chiropractic work Gonstead is vs. the other 200+ accepted chiropractic techniques, SPECIFIC is the word that best describes his technique. His famous words are “Find it, Accept it where you find it, Fix it, and Leave it alone”. Unlike most other techniques, Gonstead technique takes the time out to locate the specific problem area(s), and address those “weak links” in the chain. Rather than a shotgun approach of addressing the whole spine in hopes of fixing the problem area in the process, Gonstead prides itself in finding the issue through 5 step criteria:
Rather than a shotgun approach of addressing the whole spine in hopes of fixing the problem area in the process, Gonstead prides itself in finding the issue through the five-step criteria:
2. Static Palpation
3. Motion Palpation
This 5 step criteria helps the doctor gather as much information as necessary to locate and address the patient’s ailments. It is through this process that we can see patients at any stage in life from pregnancy addressing even in utero constraints to the newborn infant, down the line to the geriatric population.
As a practitioner of the Gonstead technique I don’t consider it the best chiropractic adjusting technique because I do it, rather I chose it because it is the hardest technique to master and I believe in the specificity of its process. With every day in practice and every single adjustment delivered it is a learning experience to get closer to bettering the practice.
Just a little bit of background on personal experience of practicing and learning Gonstead. I would like to put in perspective just how much discipline is required to learn the Gonstead approach with the neck area in this case. Going through school learning to adjust the neck with the patient laying face up took me about 5 or 6 tries and about 2 weeks to get some “movement” of the joint. Not to say I was good at it, but there was some success in the sense of achieving audible from the adjustment in the diversified technique. Now if we take a look at Gonstead, the neck is adjusted in the seated position by only about 3-5% of practicing chiropractors. This took me about 5 years to get an audible from adjusting the neck this way. I was actually in practice trying relentlessly to be not just effective which came after 5 years, but efficient which means getting it on the first attempt 80-90% of the time. It is no wonder more chiropractors do not do this technique, because it does get frustrating when you want to help a patient and the skill set has some refining to undergo. However, I understood with time it would come, and I would be providing top notch chiropractic care to my patients through the Gonstead work.
Overall Gonstead is considered the gold standard of chiropractic, and it is the only technique to be mentioned by name on the national boards examination, necessary to pass to obtain chiropractic licensure.