Our Technique: The Gonstead System

The Gonstead system is more than just a technique. Clarence Gonstead, an early Palmer

College graduate, developed the system. Gonstead used his background in engineering to

take a unique approach to correcting the spine. In doing so he developed the foundation

principle, which, explains how the spine works from a biomechanical perspective.

Dr. Gonstead also developed specifically crafted adjusting tables to help facilitate the


We are proud to use this system, which is known as the “gold standard” of hands on

chiropractic. It is also acknowledged as one of the safest systems of evaluating and

caring for the spine.

Extremity Adjusting

Extremity adjusting pertains to any joint that is not directly involved with the spine

(shoulders, feet/ankles, elbows, wrist, knee, ext.). Having part of the focus of our

practice geared toward athletes we are very experienced with many types of sport specific

injuries. Not only are we the official providers to the Iowa State Hockey team, but we

also see many athletes from the community at large.

A Thorough Evaluation

After reviewing your health history and answering any questions you may have, we will

do an inclusive examination. Typically the examination will include orthopedic tests

followed by full spine x-rays. We do a full biomechanical profile of the films to see

how the spine is functioning. Also, we will use an instrument known as a nervoscope to

objectively evaluate your spine. Finally, we will use our hands to both static and motion

palpate the spine to locate any vertebrae that are not functioning properly.

Full Spine Correction

Now that we have the entire spine evaluated we know where to work and how to work.

There are many different ways to adjust your spine depending on what area we are

working on. We will always choose the one that is best for you! The low back can

be adjusted with you in either a side lying position or the prone position. The middle

back can be corrected in either a kneeling position or the prone position as well. Neck

adjustments we always perform with you in the seated position. This is advantageous

because it gives us the best mechanical advantage of returning the functionality of your

spine without twisting or rotating your neck.

Typically you will hear a “popping” sound when you are adjusted. The technical term for

this is a cavitation. The cavitation is produced from within the joint and there is no actual

“cracking” happening. What the cavitation is: when the joint is adjusted at a certain

velocity air bubbles are created within the joint fluid and then collapse at the same time

producing the well known “crack” sound. What this means- even though it sounds odd, it

is perfectly safe!