What Is Gonstead Chiropractic And How Can It Help You?

What Is Gonstead Chiropractic And How Can It Help You?

Find out more about the gonstead approach to chiropractic care

Since 1895 when the first chiropractic adjustment was performed, many millions of people have been treated successfully by highly trained Doctors of Chiropractic medicine.

In the early years of the chiropractic profession, several diligent practitioners developed their own treatments and systems to deal with specific ailments or injuries. Over time, the more successful treatment systems became widely accepted by the chiropractic community.

One such system is known as the Gonstead System which is a process to determine who can and can’t be helped via chiropractic care, how to accurately diagnose the spinal condition, how to successfully treat a patient to minimize their particular back pain and solve their underlying spinal problems, combined with complementary medical diagnostics and treatments to allow the patient to return to full health and normal activities.

‘Gonstead’ is the system that is taught at most schools of chiropractic in the 21st century. Macquarie University (Sydney), RMIT (Melbourne) and New Zealand College of Chiropractic (Auckland) teach this system, but is also taught in chiropractic schools around the world. Since 1990, several seminars and workshops per year are taught in Australia and New Zealand to allow Chiropractors and students to further their skill and knowledge of the Gonstead System.

A Gonstead Chiropractor will do a thorough analysis of your spine during the first appointment and conduct a full medical review of the patient’s medical history to reveal the reasons for the underlying spinal condition which causes the pain that consequently drives patients to seek chiropractic care.


Your Chiropractor will review your medical history and will ask you about your present back pain to determine if chiropractic treatment is the appropriate treatment for your injury or condition.


Visualization of the spine may allow the Doctor to notice posture or movement changes which could indicate further diagnosis may be required.


Temperature variations along the spine can show the Chiropractor where inflammation or nerve pressure may exist. The Gonstead System uses a heat sensing device named the Nervoscope to display temperature readings along both sides of your spinal column. It is of course, completely painless.

Static Palpation

This is simply the process of feeling your spine as you remain in a stationary position. This helps the Chiropractor to find any obvious swelling or painful areas along the spinal column.

Motion Palpation

The Chiropractor will feel the response of the spinal vertebrae while you move and bend at various angles. This determines areas of poor flexibility -- often a sign of mechanical damage (impact injury) or long-term spinal (disc or vertebrae) degeneration. Any joint damage or misalignment is called a ‘subluxation’ in chiropractic parlance. If you’re taking chiropractic treatment, it’s a word you’ll get to know.

X-Ray Analysis

When the Chiropractor feels it is appropriate he or she will order X-rays of your spinal column so they can visualise its structure. This helps the Chiropractor to identify areas of joint and disc weakness, alignment deficiencies or fractures.


Armed with this information, a trained Gonstead System Chiropractor can properly diagnose your spinal condition or injury if it’s a spinal injury or condition, or refer you to the appropriate healthcare provider if it isn’t.

The only goal of a Gonstead System practitioner is to get the patient back on the road quickly and back to their normal routine.

As Dr. Gonstead said, "Find the subluxation, correct it, and then leave it alone".

If only everything else in life was so straightforward!

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