What is the Gonstead Method?

gonstead chiropractics denverOne of the biggest medical crises that has hit the United States is that of chronic pain.  In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.  By comparison, 25 million have diabetes, 16 million have heart disease, and 11 million have cancer.

In an attempt to alleviate this pain, many people have turned to different methods including opioid drugs that have become an epidemic in and of itself.  But there are other ways to manage your pain.  Chiropractic therapy is one of those tools.  In fact, almost 8 million Americans go to chiropractors just for back pain.  But there is one method of chiropractic treatment that is gaining more attention:  The Gonstead Method.

Traditional medicine couldn’t treat the pain

This technique was developed by Clarence Selmer Gonstead, a chiropractor who joined the profession after suffering from severe pain in his leg and foot.  What really troubled Gonstead about this pain was that traditional medical treatment couldn’t take care of the pain.  He eventually developed his own method for chiropractic treatment and founded a clinic in Wisconsin which has since become world famous.

Think of your body like a building

What is interesting about the Gonstead Method is that it has its foundations in physics and its connection with the human body.  One analogy that is often used is the physics of architectural design.  A building cannot stand if its foundation is weak.  If this happens, the bottom of the building may not immediately collapse, but the top of it can have great difficulty standing firm.  The human body actually works a lot like this.

How it works

The body’s foundation is made up of the bone structure in the pelvis, often referred to as the pelvic girdle.  These include the lower back bones (including lower vertebrae) and the hipbones.  Dr. Gonstead ascertained that if any of these bones became “out of whack” by tilting or shifting, then they could affect a person’s posture and balance.  When this happens, it can affect the upper portion of the body, just as weaknesses in a building’s foundation can affect the upper parts of the building.

If the pelvic girdle shifts out of position, then it can cause pressure on bones that makes them separate.  This particularly can happen to the vertebrae.  Over time, the vertebrae become misaligned.  This doesn’t always require a chiropractic adjustment.  The body is actually surprisingly resilient.  But sometimes, it is necessary to get some additional help.

How does this figure into the Gonstead method?  

Dr. Gonstead determined that one of the best ways to treat back pain is to use radiographs (a specific type of x-ray) to make precise pictures of the spinal column.  Each vertebra is then measured to determine how far out of alignment the bone is so that very specific adjustments can be made to those parts of the back.  This adds a specificity and exactness that had been lacking in the profession up to that point.  Then, the vertebrae are adjusted to make sure that they line up exactly as they should so that each one can function properly as either a lever or shock absorber in day-to-day movement.

Not every chiropractor utilizes the Gonstead method.  However, this approach is very useful when it comes to adjusting a few parts of the back to improve the whole health of the body.  If a person suffers from the conditions of a misaligned back, it can cause pain all over the body.  That’s why it is so important to make sure that if you are experiencing unexplained aches and pains, it is something you should probably have checked out to see if there are any underlying problems.

- Gonstead Family Chiropractic
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