Q&A with Dr. David Martin of Precision Chiropractic:
You were drawn to the Gonstead method as a student at Palmer Chiropractic College. Why?
It just made sense to me. It’s easy to understand. You look at the X-Ray and you see what you’re working with. If a vertebrae is out of place, you can see which way it needs to move to put it back in place. Also, I was drawn to the fact that Gonstead has a safe track record throughout history. It’s a relatively gentle technique and it’s extremely safe. The adjustments are never forced. They never torque or twist the neck or spine. Even as a student I always knew I wanted to open a practice that would treat people of all ages, and I liked knowing that Gonstead adjustments are safe and effective for everyone from newborn babies to elderly people.
You’ve been practicing Gonstead for 16 years now. What do you like about it?
I love that it’s specific. It’s bio-mechanically accurate. It’s well researched. It treats the body and spine as one integrated unit. I like how it is hands-on. I can feel the changes with my hands and fingers in a way that instruments and electronics can’t. I take X-Rays of the spine so that both the patient and I can see where the problems are and what needs to be fixed. We can take follow-up X-Rays and see if we’re making progress.
Don’t most chiropractors take X-Rays?
Many, many chiropractors do not take X-rays.
Is that dangerous?
I think so. It’s risky. You’re working in the dark. I used to have a sign in the X-Ray room at my office that said: To see is to know. To not see is to guess. I don’t want to guess. There can be structural anomalies, disease, fractures, birth defects, arthritis and degeneration. All that shows up on an X-Ray. If you don’t take the picture, you’ll never see that stuff. Of course there are exceptions. I’d never X-Ray an infant or a pregnant woman, for example. But generally speaking, Gonstead chiropractors do not adjust someone without seeing an X-Ray first.
How else is Gonstead different from other chiropractic methods?
Many chiropractors use instruments like an activator or impulse adjuster instead of or in addition to using their hands. I understand some people prefer that. But no instrument is as sensitive as nerves in the human hand. Gonstead is hands-on.
A lot of chiropractors use the “pop and pray” method. You pop the spine and pray you got the right area. Believe it or not, that actually does help a lot of people. But you can help more people and get a longer-lasting correction if you carefully adjust the area of the spine that needs it.
Sometimes you hear—go see this guy if you’ve got carpal tunnel. Or—that’s the place to go for headaches. Gonstead has proven over the years to be extremely effective in helping a wide range of health problems. Any condition that chiropractic can help with—ear infections, headaches, numbness and tingling, blood pressure, sciatica, the list goes on—Gonstead is effective.
Probably the main difference is in our motive for making an adjustment. A lot of chiropractic techniques are good at helping symptoms. But as a Gonstead chiropractor, we’re not as concerned with the symptoms. We’re really looking for the structural, root cause of the problem. It’s like if you have a garden. You could yank out a handful of green stuff and you will probably get some of the weeds. (You also might pull out some of your veggies.) But you’ll do some good for your garden. It’s certainly better than not weeding at all. But even better would be to carefully look through your garden, identify the intruders, and specifically pull out just the weeds by the roots. That’s Gonstead—carefully identify the problem and specifically adjust it. The symptoms go away, but the overall results are better and last longer when you address the underlying problem.
Are you exclusively a Gonstead Chiropractor?
I was trained in the Gonstead method at Palmer, and I’ve attended 20 or so Gonstead training seminars over the years. I do occasionally incorporate other techniques, simply because people respond differently to different types of adjustments. Gonstead is always my number one go-to, and I use it almost exclusively. But if someone isn’t responding well, I will switch tactics.
In the last couple years I’ve started taking a special series of functional X-Rays in addition to the standard X-Rays most Gonstead chiropractors take. I take X-Rays in a few different positions to see if the segments of the spine are moving correctly. For example, standing neutrally, head tilted back, head tilted forward. This lets me see problems of immobility at a segmental level and helps me make more precise adjustments.
Learn more about the Gonstead Method at www.GonsteadSeminar.com.