The principles of both Chiropractic and X-ray were discovered in 1895. Chiropractic was founded by D. D. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa and X-ray by Professor Roentgen in Germany. The first X-ray was of a hand and it was not until 1910 that the technology advanced for a machine to be manufactured with enough power to penetrate through the thickness of a human body. As soon as this machine was available, Dr. B. J. Palmer, the son of D. D. Palmer, purchased one for the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport and set up a complete X-ray laboratory. The first X-ray picture of a human spine was taken at this facility in February, 1910. There an intense research program began requiring the taking of thousands of images to ultimately develop a standardization of an x-ray technic that would produce high quality films of all the areas of the spine.
X-ray was then introduced into the curriculum at the college in April, 1914. Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin was a 1923 Graduate of the Palmer School of Chiropractic. He practiced until his death in 1978, all the while developing a very detailed and specific method of x-ray analysis, spinal adjusting and case management. We use the Gonstead System in this office. In it there are 455 possible three dimensional misalignments (listings) of the spinal column to choose from. There are up to six different methods using various positions or tables to adjust a patient for just one particular listing. For more information see www.gonstead.com.
The early Chiropractic research into how to find vertebral subluxations of the spine from only outside of the body involved palpation for: tenderness, heat, swelling, tight muscles, muscle atrophy, alignment, visualization of contours and vertebral positions. Later instruments were developed at Palmer College that measured temperatures along each side of the spine and also electrical conduction of mental impulses through the brain and nerves. Every avenue imaginable to those early Chiropractic pioneers was pursued to find out just where the primary functional problems of a patient’s spine were.
To that end Palmer College had also gathered the world’s largest collection of spinal bones and complete spines numbering well over 100 thousand specimens. Detailed study of these revealed that there were many variables in appearance from one spine to another.
Some of the findings were:
- Variations of size or shape from one side of a bone to the other
- Bent spinous processes down the midline of the spine
- Different curves and curvatures
- Congenital malformations
- Changes in bone shape from adaptation due to misalignments
- Damage from bone diseases
- New and old injuries
- Natural and congenital fusions
The conclusion was obvious, that no two spines are exactly alike. This is the same as looking at a person from the outside. While we have the same body parts no two humans look exactly alike.
This Chiropractic early research was designed to find the primary vertebral subluxations and to find the way to most efficiently correct them. Data was carefully collected regarding what was found, what was done and what the results were.
With the advent of the addition of precisely taken spinal X-ray views, to see what each spine looked like and what the exact directions of the misalignments were, a great discovery was made. It was determined that the error rate of properly correcting the spine with spinal adjustments without the benefit of an X-ray was 50-85%!
To see is to know and not to see is to guess. At this clinic we want to know the specifics of your spine and extremity bones as we work on you.
These findings often change due to the corrections that have been made or due to new strains, falls and a wide variety of other injuries. Even the force of gravity and degeneration with aging will slowly change the boney structures and their alignment. We want to know the three dimensional positioning and the health of the spinal and extremity bones and joints that we will adjust. Your potential results are then greatly enhanced and will happen as fast as possible.