The Gonstead System is more than a technique, it is a complete approach to analyzing the spine. In this system, there are criteria for determining where to adjust (the five criteria), as well as, a very specific adjusting style. The Gonstead System is based in structural engineering and considers the full spine when searching for subluxations. The Gonstead adjustment is one of the most specific adjustments in the profession which makes it very safe as well. Due to its comprehensive attributes, the Gonstead System delivers some of the fastest results in Chiropractic.
The creator of the Gonstead System, Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, worked with an engineering company before struggling with rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Gonstead was bed ridden with this disease and was unaided by any medical treatment. After pursuing the help of a chiropractor who cared for Gonstead around the clock, Dr. Gonstead was back on his feet and was inspired to enroll in Chiropractic school. After graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1923, Dr. Gonstead began developing his system. Drawing from his background in engineering, Dr. Gonstead concluded that the subluxation happens at the intervertebral disc, the base of the vertebral structure. Taking this concept one step farther, Dr. Gonstead realized the importance of the pelvis when it comes to the structure of the entire spine. If the pelvis is level and strong, the rest of the spine has a better chance to be healthy and strong.
When a vertebra subluxates, it has the ability to move in three directions. Initially, the bone moves posterior/backwards, then it can turn left and right and/or tilt to the left or the right. This applies to everything below the atlas (the first bone in the spine) and above the pelvis (the hips and the butt bone), these ends of the spine have different motion mechanisms of subluxations. Since there can be a multi-directional misalignment, the Gonstead System has a multi-directional adjustment and specific contact points. To find the subluxated bones in the Gonstead System, the five criteria are utilized: instrumentation, static and motion palpation, visualization and x-ray. The multi-directional adjustments and specific contact points in conjunction with these five criteria are the reason for the Gonstead System's quick results.
The Gonstead System's speedy results is due in part to the ability of the doctor to find the correct bones to adjust, and partly on the adjustment used in the Gonstead System. The most important of the two is finding the correct bone to adjust. When the correct bone is found, adjusted, and then left alone to heal, the body corrects the problems caused by the subluxated bone. The other part is the adjustment, that focuses on the major direction of misalignment which is posteriority.