Gonstead Doctor in Pittsburgh

About Gonstead Chiropractic


Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, the founder of the Gonstead System, graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1923. In the years following graduation, he used his background in mechanical engineering to broaden the principles of chiropractic. Dr. Gonstead developed a system that first specifically analyzes the function of the spine and nerves, and then along with x-ray findings allows the doctor to deliver a precise, carefully controlled adjustment.

Dr. Gonstead practiced for over 55 years and in that time had many accomplishments. With his passion in caring for all ages of people from all over the world, he was able to build the largest chiropractic practice which still exists today.

Dr. Gonstead was known as the “chiropractor’s chiropractor”, and worked at all hours of the night, seven days per week. His brilliance (and passion for his work) allowed him to see over one million patients over the course of his career while refining his method which is taught to doctors and students all over the world. Dr. Gonstead also developed the full spine x-ray, a heat detection instrument (nervoscope) and specific tables used for adjustments.                       Gonstead Clinic

 The Gonstead Analysis                                                                                    

Your Gonstead chiropractor has specialized training in the system Dr. Gonstead invented. Your doctor will analyze your spine to detect for the presence of the vertebral subluxation complex. Generally speaking, a vertebral subluxation is nerve pressure produced from improperly functioning or misaligned spinal bones. To find out if you have vertebral subluxations, your Gonstead chiropractor uses five important criteria:

 Nervoscope1. Instrumentation: The Gonstead chiropractor uses an instrument invented by Dr. Gonstead called a Nervoscope. The Nervoscope detects heat along the spine which is consistent with inflammation and pressure on nerves. The instrument has two probes and gently glides down each side of the spine during the examination.


 Static Palpation2. Static Palpation: When nerves are compressed and spinal joints malfunction they can produce swelling (edema) in that area as well as tightness in the muscles. Your Gonstead chiropractor will feel for these areas on your back and neck using the finger tips while you sit in a stationary position.



 Motion Palpation3. Motion Palpation: When spinal segments malfunction, they can “lock up” or become too loose. By gently moving the spine in different ways, your Gonstead chiropractor can feel which segments move improperly.



Visualization4. Visualization: Your Gonstead chiropractor visually looks for abnormalities in posture and gait that are uneven. This is important when taking into account all other criteria and making important decisions about your care.

X-ray Analysis5. X-ray Analysis (except during pregnancy): The prior four analysis criteria allows your Gonstead chiropractor to find which spinal segment(s) are malfunctioning and the exact location of where nerve pressure exists. Spinal x-rays allow for a “blue print” of your spine which is important in determining specifically how the spinal segments involved are to be adjusted. X-Rays are also helpful in determining fracture, postural distortions, arthritic conditions, etc.

These five criteria allow your Gonstead chiropractor to locate your problem down to the individual segment and nerve involved. With this information along with a detailed heath history, your Gonstead chiropractor can deliver a precise adjustment in the most mechanically correct way to only the problem segments. In doing so, the goal is to eliminate nerve pressure caused by the effects of the subluxation and allow the body to function optimally.

Specialized training is required by your Gonstead chiropractor beyond the knowledge gained in chiropractic school. The training consists of hundreds of hours of seminar work study in adjusting technique, analysis as well as specialized case management of a variety of health conditions. (For more information about this specialized training, visit Gonstead Seminars).

What Dr. Gonstead left behind is a legacy; a system of chiropractic used to find and help correct the cause of spinal and extremity problems as well as other health issues. Dr. Gonstead was known for his dedication and for his phenomenal ability for getting sick people well without drugs or surgery. That same passion that drove him, still fires the hearts of Gonstead chiropractors today.

History of Chiropractic

Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer
Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer

The origin of Chiropractic began September 18, 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. A janitor by the name of Harvey Lillard had been partially deaf for 17 years. Mr. Lillard had felt something give-way in his back while bending over. He lost his hearing that very moment. Mr. Lillard discussed his problem with Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, the developer of Chiropractic. It was then that D.D. reasoned that realigning the spine may help restore Harvey’s hearing. His hearing returned as soon as D.D. Palmer performed a specific chiropractic adjustment to Harvey. This was the birth of Chiropractic, one of the greatest healing professions. Since the day of that first miraculous chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractic profession has helped millions of people become healthier

What is Chiropractic’s purpose and how can it benefit every member of your family? Doctors of Chiropractic are the only health care specialists trained and certified to detect and correct Vertebral Subluxations in the spinal column with specific spinal adjustments.

What are Subluxations? Subluxations are simply defined as misalignments of vertebrae in the spinal column which causes pressure upon the spinal nerves. This decreases the brain’s ability to properly communicate to the organs and muscles of the body. Subluxations are caused by physical traumas (exercising, auto accidents, birth trauma, etc.), emotional stress, and chemical stress (smoking, drinking, poor diet, environment toxins, etc.). Subluxations can be found in newborns to seniors which is exactly why anyone of any age should be checked for subluxations and treated with specific chiropractic adjustments.