top of page

What is Gonstead Chiropractic?

Dr Clarence Selmer Gonstead developed the Gonstead System of Chiropractic over fifty-five years of continuous clinical observation, research and more than 4 million Chiropractic adjustments from 1923 to 1978 in Mt Horeb, Wisconsin, USA. Initially, a mechanical engineer, Dr Gonstead used his prior knowledge plus university-trained anatomical and Chiropractic skills to formulate a system to analyse and correct joint dysfunction in the spine and extremities. Over his decorated career, Dr Gonstead refined the Gonstead System of Chiropractic into a particular method of analysing, adjusting and managing Chiropractic patients when they enter the Chiropractic office. The Gonstead System allows for each patient's specific analysis, adjustment and management at every visit. Every patient is a unique case with specific subluxations and cannot be given the same course of 'treatment'. The goal of the Gonstead practitioner is to 'do the least to achieve the most'. That is to say, the least amount of vertebrae to be adjusted, with the least amount of force, the least amount of times.


The Gonstead System of Chiropractic is arguably the pinnacle of Chiropractic services, owing to the level of analysis and care for the patient and the results obtained. The Gonstead System of Chiropractic is renowned for its specificity, has hundreds of years of combined clinical experience, is neurologically sound and has been tried and tested. It is a mainstream Chiropractic technique taught globally due to its safe, effective, sound neurological and biomechanical principles. A Gonstead Chiropractor has dedicated many years to developing this level of knowledge, including five years of tertiary study in Australia and ongoing postgraduate seminars, workshops and guidance from mentors of the Gonstead Society of Australia and renowned International teachers and leaders of the Gonstead System of Chiropractic to gain competency utilising the Gonstead Method. Only an estimated 5% of Australia's Chiropractors use this method of Chiropractic, making it an exclusive niche area of Chiropractic, primarily due to the level of detailed analysis, specificity of the adjustment and principles of patient management.


Come and Experience the Difference!

A Detailed Health History

The Chiropractor will ask you several specific questions relating to your overall health and presenting complaint. Information is collected on all of your health issues as your presenting complaint may be attributed to many factors like posture, medication, emotional stress, previous traumas, surgery, sports injury, overuse / repeated strain and regular daily activities like sleep, diet and exercise. A thorough history will help determine where problems exist, what perpetuates, aggravates and relieves your condition, and your overall health status.



The Chiropractor will observe the spinal column and posture for curvature, symmetry and balance changes. Further postural assessment whilst standing, walking and sitting will help to highlight where problems exist. 



The 'Nervoscope' is a unique differential skin temperature instrument used by Gonstead Chiropractors that detects thermoelectric changes in the skin caused by improper nerve control of the blood flow of the skin as a result of a Chiropractic subluxation.


Static Palpation

Static palpation is the method for feeling your spine and surrounding tissues for swelling and tenderness. A Chiropractic subluxation causes slight injury to the ligaments that attach to the vertebral bones in the spine. The damage to the ligament produces inflammation. Your Chiropractor is trained to find such a problem.


Motion Palpation

The Chiropractor will always check for movement at each level of the spine, performed in a seated (weight-bearing) position. Each vertebral level is tested and compared to other levels for three different directions of normal motion to determine if there is a deficiency in all directions. Reduced movement between each segment will help to locate a Chiropractic subluxation.


Neurological / Orthopedic / Special Examinations

Various tests may be conducted to obtain a better understanding of your condition. Tests such as routine muscle stretch reflexes, dermatome (skin sensory testing), common and condition-specific orthopedic tests, plus other special tests like balance tests, tests for eye movement, sense of smell, vision tests, and hearing tests may be required. Chiropractors specialise in dealing with nervous system function using the spinal column as leverage to influence the nervous system. Therefore it is of utmost importance for the Chiropractor to obtain as much information as possible.


Radiographic Analysis

X-ray is the ONLY way to determine precisely how many vertebrae you have, as it is common for individuals not to have the 'normal' amount of vertebral segments present in their spine OR they may have malformed vertebral segments present. Whilst Hoyne Chiropractic does not operate X-Ray facilities at present, you will be referred (where appropriate) for specialised weight-bearing X-rays of your spine for Chiropractic analysis. The frontal view is taken in one piece. The second and third X-rays are taken from the side to assess the neck and low back regions, respectively. This information is vital because it allows the Gonstead Chiropractor to be as specific as possible in the analysis and treatment of your condition. It also prevents common mistakes, such as adjusting the wrong segment when counting by 'feel' to the exact vertebral subluxation. 


As the X-Rays are taken at a Radiology centre, all required measures are taken to ensure the exposures are taken with the least amount of radiation via the use of high-speed screens, collimation, gonadal shielding and the very latest in digital computer radiographic imaging. 


These weight-bearing X-rays will show the following: 

  • your spinal posture, its curves and how your body maintains equilibrium under the forces of gravity

  • the condition of each disc and joint in the spine

  • any abnormalities you were born with or have developed

  • signs of pathology and fractures 


The Chiropractor will consider your condition, the results of the objective examination, and X-Ray findings to plan the most appropriate and specific adjustment required to correct your Chiropractic subluxation.

The Gonstead Examination

What to expect

Adjustment VS Manipulation

There is a difference between manipulation and an adjustment. With manipulation, a force is introduced into multiple segments with the sole intent of "mobilizing" the area. No care is taken to isolate the specific joint or vertebrae. A contact is made with one's hands over several segments at one time and whatever "cracks" does so without a specific goal in mind other than global movement. A "manipulator" gives every one the same "asprin" approach no matter what the presenting conditions are, manipulating the spine in many areas often on both sides.

The adjustment implies that a detailed examination is performed at every visit via a functional assessment by the doctor's "hands on" palpation of each joint to determine "if" there is a subluxation and exactly "where" it is located and that information is then applied to the x-rays to determine the best way to reduce the condition. The Adjuster contacts the subluxated vertebrae on a specific part of the segment, positions the patient with an exact placement of the appropriate spinal components and introduces the force with a specific "line of drive" and a calculated amplitude (depth or distance) to produce a cavitation (noise like cracking one's knuckles). These factors are case specific for each patient. The adjustment is accomplished by proper isolation of the adjusted segments and occur within the normal operational range of vertebral movement.

  • Non specific "global" movement to multiple vertebral joints in multiple directions

  • Performed to increase mobility

  • Contacts several joints

  • Long leaver contacts

  • Performed at end range of movement

  • Short term relief

  • Specific Contact point with a specific angle to restore normal mechanics &
    ONE joint

  • Performed to reduce inflammation to a specific nerve

  • One joint

  • Short leaver

  • Performed in normal / neutral range of motion

  • Long term relief



bottom of page