The Gonstead System

The Gonstead System was founded in 1923 by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. Gonstead is the most specific and precise chiropractic system in world. Gonstead practitioners are able to isolate individual inflamed/impinged nerve roots, which is the root cause to many health disorders.  By using their hands only, Gonstead chiropractors are able to relieve this impingement, thereby allowing the body to heal itself. The Gonstead Doctor will take a detailed health history of each patient followed by a thorough spinal/neurological examination. This examination includes instrumentation, motion palpation, static palpation, visualization, orthopedic/neurologic tests and x-ray.

Instrumentation:  An instrument called a Temposcope is run along the spine from the top of the person’s neck to the bottom of their spine. The Gonstead Doctor is checking for heat that would be generated from inflamed nerves, joints, discs and soft tissue surrounding each and every individual vertebra.


Motion palpation:  A Gonstead Doctor uses his hands/fingers to feel all the joints of the spine and extremities to determine if they are moving within their normal limits. A lack of motion or a joint that moves too much is an abnormal joint and therefore sign of trouble.

Static palpation:  A Gonstead Doctor passively feels each and every joint of the spine and extremities feeling for swelling, pain, muscle spasm and muscle weakness. Any difference from the normal is a sign of injury within the body.

Visualization:  The Gonstead Doctor will watch you walk, move, bend and twist in certain and specific directions to determine if your body mechanics are within normal limits.

Orthopedic/Neurologic Tests:  The Gonstead Doctor uses specific tests to determine if the joints and the nerves of your body are working at 100%.

x-rayX-ray:  AP and lateral full spine STANDING x-rays are taken of each and every patient (young children and pregnant women are not x-rayed unless unusual circumstances occur). This x-ray will determine the health of a person’s spine.  The standing or “weight bearing” position insures a perfect view of the patient’s posture in its natural state. It also gives the Doctor a “blueprint” of a person’s spine showing misaligned vertebra and pelvic bones and giving the Doctor a look at the discs (the ligamentous cushions between the vertebrae.) This x-ray will help the Doctor determine the precise angle and direction that each individual subluxation will need to be corrected.

To precisely adjust a subluxated vertebra the Gonstead Doctor uses specific equipment to accomplish this in an efficient pain-free way.



Cervical Chair:  Made to adjust the cervical and upper dorsal spine (neck)

Knee-Chest Table:  Made to adjust the dorsal and lumbar spine (upper, middle and low back)

Hylo Table:  Made to adjust the cervical, dorsal, lumbar spines as well as the pelvis (entire spine)


Pelvic Bench:  Made to adjust the lumbar spine and pelvis (low back)

A specific Gonstead vertebral adjustment is performed by “hands only”.  No adjusting equipment, machines or gadgets are used. The Gonstead Doctor specifically places his hand on a precise portion of the vertebrae then with a very quick, skillful and gentle force moves the vertebrae into its normal position. This method is much different than a “manipulation” in which multiple areas of the spine are manipulated in different directions. The Gonstead Doctor prides himself on being able to find and adjust the specific subluxated vertebrae without harming healthy areas. As Dr. Gonstead said years ago:

“Find the Subluxation, Accept It Where You Find It, Adjust It and Leave It Alone”