How the Gonstead Method Revolutionizes Spinal Alignment and Health?

Just as our bodies need regular nutrition from vitamins and minerals to keep functioning in all the pink of health, so do our joints and spine need care from time to time for them to function with a healthy range of motion and utmost flexibility. Chiropractic treatment helps patients deal with their day-to-day woes of muscle pain, spinal stiffness, and other related discomfort. It also helps them to recover from injuries caused by trauma or accidents with its non-invasive techniques of manual adjustment and relaxing of muscles and spine. In recent times, advanced techniques of chiropractic care have evolved which combine modern medical tools and procedures along with traditional manual hands-on treatment to give faster recovery and targeted treatment for specific symptoms. Among the new techniques, the Gonstead method is popularly considered the gold standard, giving faster and long-lasting pain relief.

How does the Gonstead method work?

Generally, most chiropractors use hands-on techniques like manual compression and stretching of areas affected by symptoms to treat patients. However, relying only on the patient’s report of the symptoms may not lead to a full identification of the root cause of pain. Thus, not only manual observation and hands-on adjustment but also other related diagnostic studies should be done to check the symptoms in detail. This is done by:

  • A six-pronged approach consisting of X-rays, physical palpation (motion and static), instrumentation using a nervousoscope, visualization of posture and gait, and case management to make precise diagnoses.
  • More specifically targeted adjustment of joints by thorough examination of symptoms.

Discovered by Dr. Clarence Gonstead, this method uses modern diagnostic examination methods and protocols to identify an exact location within the spine that is the source of obstructions in the nervous system causing pain, stiffness, and discomfort. The Gonstead method in chiropractic treatment is used to identify and correct the specific misalignment areas in the spine that are causing the symptoms. After that, adjustment is done in those specific areas to recover mobility, range of motion, and pain relief.

What are the strategies and techniques of the Gonstead method?

To accurately identify the specific areas of nerve pressure in the spine, six diagnostic criteria are used in the Gonstead method. This helps to cater to the unique needs of each patient and achieve precise, targeted alleviation of symptoms.  The six prongs of the Gonstead method are:

  • X-Rays: Full X-Rays of the spine including lateral and A-P views are done as part of the Gonstead method. This is essential as it allows the chiropractor to see the entire spine and decide the corrective measures needed. This helps to determine the exact nature of alterations in various areas of the spine, the condition of the discs, and the extent of any spinal degeneration.
  • Motion and Static Palpation: Motion palpation is a hands-on technique through which the chiropractor manually determines the source of the problem by touching various areas. This leads the chiropractor to correctly determine where the misaligned joints are, and their range of motion. Static palpation is when the chiropractor lightly touches the spinal and surrounding tissues to pinpoint acute and chronic problems.
  • Instrumentation: In this method, modern technological tools like the Nervoscope are used to record temperatures of inflamed and non-inflamed areas of the spine, separately. The difference in the two readings helps chiropractors determine the exact locations of spinal nerve pressure needing treatment.
  • Visualization: In association with the results obtained by using medical instruments, other equipment, and physical touch, the Gonstead method also includes visual observation to get information. This includes observing the patient’s walking gait, taking note of their posture, and the height between his/her shoulders, ears, and hips. This information is afterward cross-checked with findings from X-rays and palpation techniques to arrive at a conclusive opinion regarding the ailment.
  • Symptomology or Management: Preparing a comprehensive list of symptoms helps chiropractors to determine problems in the nervous system. They can thus note the adjustments needed accordingly in treatment, creating a pre-planned course of action or road map towards recovery.


Whether due to aging, acute or chronic illnesses or uncalled-for situations like accidents, our joints, muscles, and spines may be injured. Chiropractic can help with advanced techniques like the Gonstead method for long-lasting pain relief. Using lab tests, and modern instruments along with manual hands-on treatment, this method has revolutionized the correction of spinal alignment by precise identification of pain source and underlying nervous system problems behind symptoms.

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