Interview with Alberto Gonzalez, a Gonstead Technique Chiropractor
I ran the London Marathon this year. It was a marvellous experience and the preparation was very much a learning experience because it, not only, involved some hard training but also treatment from a chiropractor which was a completely new experience for me.I visited Alberto Gonzalez of the Gonstead Clinic in London and learnt a lot about myself but also some of the aspects of chiropractic and I loved it. Alberto has been kind enough to answer some of my very basic questions below.
You treated my knees by working on my spine. This may seem strange to some so can you say simply why this works?This is a simple question to answer if you understand the way the body works. The main organ controlling all your body tissues is the Nervous System; brain, spinal cord and nerves all over your body. The brain is the computer and the nerves are the wires that link it with your muscles, tendons, joints and organs so it is very important that all signals traveling between your body and brain flow correctly.
In your case, you had a nerve impingement at the bottom of your spine that compromised the nerve flow between your knee and the brain so your muscles in the knee were weak and that gave you pain. All I did was identify that misalignment and corrected it using a spinal adjustment and helped the recovery by giving you a couple of simple exercises.
Do you treat many injuries brought about by sporting activities – what seems most common at the moment?Yes I do. Together with posture and ergonomic problems, sport injuries are very common. The most typical situation is injuries brought by inadequate training in the gym, jogging or poor technique while practicing Yoga and Pilates. The reality is that these complaints are chronic but “flare up” when the person tries to do too much in training. In these cases we always find the true cause of the problem and correct it so that the patients can go back to practicing their favourite sport safely.
What are the most common other reasons that people seek your help – such as lifestyle, stress etc?Nowadays we have a very demanding lifestyle that generally involves many hours sitting – car, office or train – combined with high stress levels.
Sitting for a long time with poor ergonomics together with lack of exercise or inadequate exercise, create what we call “repetitive microtrauma” in the joints in the spine. This basically means that repeating the same action in a poor mechanical way will create a negative impact in your spine and injure it. At present, this is being diagnosed as Repetitive Strain Injuries and it is becoming more and more typical.
In addition, as I said before, the nervous system is the main organ in our body and stress affects its normal function. You have to remember that stress is simply a “fight or flight” response that should only be triggered in certain occasions of true danger to our lives. However, at the moment this “fight or flight” reaction is being triggered constantly creating true compromise to the way the nervous system works giving us many typical discomforts like headaches, muscular tightness around the low back or neck, poor sleeping, poor digestion, etc…
After chiropractic adjustment my knees felt better but I also felt happy, confident and had more energy. This seems almost too good to be true but did this surprise you?Not really! This sensation of “feeling good” is very common in our office. There are two reasons for this reaction. The first one is that your nerves are working better and feeding more positive information into the brain and this makes the brain produce less adrenaline (stress hormone) and that feels good. Second, is the fact that you did not use any health-destroying drugs in your treatment. These combined with the fact that you can start to carry a more normal life has a positive impact in your mood.
With this in mind could chiropractors treat illnesses thought usually to be less ‘physical’ such as depression?There is not enough research in this area so we can’t claim that Chiropractic can treat all types of depression and mood conditions. However, we know that we can help people feel better not just physically but emotionally. Because we can make the nervous system work better and also help many pains that affect us emotionally, there is a lot of improvement that we can offer but more research is needed. It depends a lot on the individual and new studies are coming that show positive results in the management of such conditions.
After treatment I managed to complete a standard run of mine in a quicker time after no additional training. Was I lucky or could you have helped me do this?It was not all luck! During your treatment and training we focused on enhancing your performance and we did it well. On one hand you did what you were told to do and on the other hand my job was to make sure that your spine was free of any misalignment that created nerve impingement. It can be said that before you were treated, you were between 60% and 70% of your health potential because of those impingements in your spine and after removing them and prescribing the right and simple exercises, you moved towards 100% of health potential and in those circumstances your performance increased significantly.
You specialise in the Gonstead Technique of chiropractic. Can you briefly say what that is?The Gonstead Technique is one of the oldest techniques of Chiropractic and one of the most difficult to master for the practitioner. It was developed in the ´50s by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead in Winsconsin, USA. He achieved great results with many patients and had the biggest Chiropractic clinic in the world (and that record still stands) and soon started to teach his technique to many Chiropractors. What makes this technique special is the way we examine the spine and the way we treat it.
The Gonstead spinal analysis is unique and aims at finding the level in your spine that is impinging the nerves. This includes a very advanced “weight bearing X-Ray assessment” throughout which we take specific measurements that help us understand where the problem is, how to fix it and how long it will take. The treatment consists of very specific spinal adjustments that also are unique to this technique and, as you have been able to check, are very safe, very comfortable and very effective. This is why it is a difficult technique to master and the reason why it is difficult to find 100% Gonstead specialists.
After my experience of being treated by Alberto I would definitely recommend him to others. He can be contacted via:
Gonstead Clnics UK, 22 Harley Street
Tel 020 76372920