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Sagittal Manipulations are safe, comfortable, effective, and long-lasting. In the Gonstead Technique of Chiropractic,vertebrae are nudged forward, in the sagittal plane, rather than twisted in rotation. Sagittal manipulations are particularly safe because they minimize rotation and they are comfortable for the same reason. They are effective because they correct the fundamental problem. When a vertebra 'subluxates' (slips out of place) it falls backwards off its disc. Gonstead corrections nudge the vertebra forward back into place. Because they correct the underlying problem, they provide long-lasting or even permanent relief.
In the nineteen twenties, Dr. Clarence Gonstead observed that when the spine fails a vertebra slips posterior; it "falls" backwards off of its disc. When he corrected that posteriority, he got simply amazing clinical results.
Clarence Gonstead devised a system for adjusting the spine by nudging the vertebra from posterior to anterior, from "P to A", guiding the subluxed vertebra sagittally, forward, back into place. In fact, all chiropractors adjust the thoracic spine sagittally P to A, because that is the easiest way of adjusting the thoracic spine. In the neck and low back, however, sagittal manipulations are quite difficult to learn and require a certain finesse; but they're well worth learning because they are so safe, comfortable, and effective.
Because sagittal manipulations minimize rotation, they are safe and comfortable (you don't feel as though your head is going to be twisted off). Patients often characterize the sagittal adjustments as "gentle". Now, the Gonstead adjustments do "click" the vertebra back into place, but they feel "gentle" because we are nudging the vertebra back into its "preferred" position, the space where it belongs.
Description by Dr. Norman Allen