"Find the subluxation
Accept it where you find it
Leave it alone"
-Dr. C.S. Gonstead
There are many types of chiropractic care. Dr. Sullivan primarily uses the Gonstead
system. The Gonstead technique is a system used to analyze and care for the spine. It is a gentle, effective technique that is specific, accurate and precise in evaluating and adjusting the spine.
In dealing with the vertebral subluxation complex, it is important to the Gonstead practitioner to
thoroughly examine the spine before adjusting it.
Why? in order to give a specific adjustment, your chiropractor needs to evaluate and find
the location of your subluxations - or misalignments - which may be the cause of your health problems.
As a Gonstead practitioner, Dr. Sullivan uses the following thorough methods of analysis:
If your car breaks down you explain to a car mechanic what problems you are having with your car. The mechanic also asks you what type of fuel you're putting in your car.
Likewise, your doctor wants to know what kind of problems or discomfort you have been
experiencing and how you are fueling your body. Automobile accidents, falls, other traumas or injuries are important information in evaluating your spine and overall health.
To further understand the condition of your spine, it is also important to view the structure of your spine through the use of x-ray examination. Your doctor looks for signs of pathology (disease) and fracture; evaluates posture, the joints of the spine, the condition of the disc, subluxations and other conditions of the spine. The doctor can also use x-rays to visualize what position the vertebrae are in so that she can adjust the spine as gently, specifically and effectively as possible.
Your chiropractor may use an instrument (a Nervoscope, Temposcope or NCM). These instruments, much like a thermometer, measure heat. Abnormal heat distribution is a sign to the doctor that there may be nerve dysfunction and joint swelling in the spine and help the chiropractor evaluate for possible subluxations. This instrument glides down the length of your back and feels like two fingers gliding down either side of your spinal column.
Your spine, when subluxated, will send warning signals to your body. Muscles may become tight or tender, tissues damaged from the subluxation or subluxations. To detect the warning signals, chiropractors use static palpation. This simply means that your chiropractor runs his or her fingers over (or palpates) your spine in a static (or stationary) position. Your chiropractor is looking for edema, swelling and tender or tight muscle fibers.
Like static palpation, the chiropractor palpates your spine while bending your spine at different angles. The chiropractor determines range of motion, or, how easily or difficult each segment of your spine moves. For example, there may be problems if you can bend further to the left than to the right. Lack of motion is one of the factors in the vertebral subluxation complex.
A Gonstead Adjustment is Specific
After complete evaluation using these methods of analysis, your chiropractor is ready to
provide a specific, accurate and precise adjustment. The cause of your discomfort - the areas of subluxation - have been determined so there is a focus on adjusting the problem areas only.
Gonstead chiropractors approach the spine biomechanically - which means that they relate
the structure of the spine to how they will adjust It. Gonstead doctors take great care in making sure you are in a mechanically correct position for your adjustment. Accurate positioning and precision thrusting
insure that the correction is as accurate and painless as possible.
To help illustrate the necessity of correct positioning, think of how a pottery sculptor
carefully positions the clay of the pottery wheel before shaping or reshaping the clay. If the clay is not in the center of the pottery wheel it will become off-balance and lose its shape. Likewise, your
chiropractor is 'reshaping' the position of the vertebrae in your spine.
In summary, your Gonstead practitioner uses the following methods of analysis to evaluate
your spine: case history, X-ray examination, visualization, instrumentation, static palpation and motion palpation.
By using these thorough methods of assessment, giving careful consideration to
positioning, and relying on his or her expert training, your chiropractor can give you a proper adjustment, assuring you of biomechanically sound correction of your subluxations.