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 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!