Gonstead Technique is a system of analysis based on the practice of Dr. Clarence Gonstead, who started his clinic in tiny Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin in 1923. He was a mechanical engineer, and looked at the body and spine with an engineer's eye. He developed a unique methodology based on proper biomechanical principles and the importance of a "level foundation" for the spine. Because of his incredible results (especially with so-called "hopeless" cases), people came to the clinic in droves, and he eventually built the largest chiropractic clinic in the world! In order to accomodate the patients coming from all over the world, he built a hotel next to the clinic and a landing strip for airplanes. It's hard to argue with that kind of success!
Research has shown that rotational movement is especially damaging to spinal discs. Dr. Gonstead knew this and developed a technique that does not involve twisting the spine. He also developed the "Principle of Specificity" - finding exactly which one or two spinal bones were causing the problem. When they are individually adjusted, the body can then compensate and begin to heal itself. If a doctor "popped" every one of your spinal joints, how could you ever know where your problem was? Wouldn't you rather FIX the problem?
Dr. Gonstead realized that the body's foundation is formed by the pelvic girdle. When the pelvis or any of the spinal bones become tilted or out of alignment, dramatic changes can occur in the body that may result in pain and decreased health. Misalignments of the vertebrae and pelvis cause pressure on the discs between the spinal bones, and put pressure on the nerves extending out to the rest of the body. This pressure usually causes pain, but in the early stages, the person may not feel pain and be may unaware of the problem. Uneven pressure on the discs causes them to swell and protrude, and is commonly called a "slipped" disc. With continued misalignment and degeneration, discs can bulge, herniate or rupture. Any of these changes in the discs can put pressure on the exiting spinal nerves (or even the spinal cord, in more serious cases). "Subluxation" is the term used by chiropractors for these misalignments which result in pinching or compression of the nerves. Compressed nerves become inflamed and impede the proper transmission of impulses to the corresponding areas of the body.