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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:

John Ballam, DC

201 Davis Grove Circle, #106
Cary, NC 27519
Telephone: (919) 363-2277

Testing Is a Critical Component of Gonstead Chiropractic Treatment

Dr. John Ballam of Legacy Chiropractic in Cary uses the precise and rewarding Gonstead chiropractic method with all of his patients.

The full-spine, panoramic X-ray, explains Dr. Ballam, reveals not only pathology and fractures, but allows for a comprehensive evaluation of structure, posture, and alignment.

Gonstead, he explains, “is a process of extensive biomechan-ical testing to determine the presence and intensity of the vertebral subluxation complex— which is a term we use to describe spinal abnormalities, the source of often disabling pain. The method carries the name of the practi-tioner, Dr. Gonstead, who developed these concepts many years ago.

“Our initial examination with a new patient is very broad, and then the whole process becomes more narrow and specific, based on the results of continuing testing.”

Part of this process, he explains, “is to assess the patient’s posture. Historically, chiropractors have been the ‘posture docs.’ Now we have a cool technology on the iPad so that we can digitally assess the patient’s posture. We take pictures of the patient from the front view and the profile side view—and the technology allows me to add lines and measurements onto the iPad picture.

“What is great for us about this technology is that we’ve leveled the floor in our exam room so that the patient is standing on a perfectly level surface. As a result of this technology, we can show the patient where postural problems exist.  Most of us have some aspect of our structure that is not quite right,” notes Dr. Ballam, “and with this technology, we can measure these issues with precision. How far forward is your head? How far off is your hip? How far are you leaning?”

Suspicious Tilt

Continues Dr. Ballam: “Let’s say photos show the patient is leaning away from their left hip. I’m going to be suspicious that something is going on with that left hip that requires a closer look. That’s when we introduce the nervoscope instrument, to check temperature—inflammation—right over the skin. Are the temperature readings mild or severe? This information helps me gauge the extent of the problem we’re dealing with—and exactly what segments or parts of the spine we’re dealing with. Is it the L4 or is it the L5 that we need to address?

“Beyond this testing, I feel the patient’s spine. I put my hands on their back, very gently, and check how that joint is moving—or, typically, how it is not moving. The patient will report ‘Oh, that was tender’ or ‘That was sore.’

“As a further part of the analysis, I watch the patient walk across the room, observing the normal pattern of walking. The hips should sway left and right, left and right. Are the feet tracking straight or is one foot flaring out? Do they walk with one arm swinging, but not both arms? I’m looking for asymmetrical patterns—and confirmation of the results of earlier tests.
“After completion of all these tests, we typically will take a full-spine X-ray.  An X-ray allows me to visualize the spine, much like an architect looking at blueprints.”

Full-Spine X-ray: Invaluable Tool

The full-spine X-ray, Dr. Ballam explains is a unique and extremely valuable tool. “Unlike a conventional X-ray,” he explains, “it is more of a panoramic view than a point-and-shoot view. Its purpose isn’t just to diagnose pathology or fractures—it is primarily for evaluating structure, posture, and alignment. For example, we can see, with this full spine panoramic view, a little misalignment in the hips and how that has created a whole domino effect, a whole chain reaction all the way up the spine—compensations that may explain why a patient’s neck hurts, when in fact their hip is out of alignment.”

The benefit of a panoramic full spine view versus just three point-and-shoot X-rays is significant, he explains. “With the point-and-shoot approach, you take a picture of the neck, reposition the patient, take a picture of their mid-back, reposition the patient, and then take a picture of their low back. And while those three shots do allow you to examine all three areas, taping those three pictures together is really not the same thing as one shot on one sheet of film. With a full-body X-ray, we can see the relationships between body parts, and can trace alignments—and misalignments—from top to bottom.”

Carrie Howell

Carrie Howell, in her mid-thirties, mother of two, has found her work with Dr. Ballam positive and transformative.

“Some years ago, before moving to this area, I was seeing a chiropractor three times a week over a five-year period, seeking relief of excruciating back pain, and pain and problems with my right hip, as well.

Photos taken before adjustments to Carrie
Howell’s knee show
how her body had shifted weight, affecting the alignment of her spine.
After adjustments to
her knee, the misalign-
ment was corrected

“Providentially, we moved to this area and I began treatment with Dr. Ballam when I was pregnant with my second child. Initially he focused on keeping me in alignment for pregnancy and delivery. But after giving birth, I had a really big flare-up in my right knee, so intense that I had trouble walking on it. Once Dr. Ballam made an adjustment to the knee, I could walk again and that same day, the more I walked, my hip pain, which was almost constant, was also relieved.”

“In fact,” comments Dr. Ballam, “this patient had received chiropractic care for many years. When she and her family moved to this area, she became my patient, and we came to find out that her low-back pain was actually due to a knee issue. The analysis, by looking at her posture, cued me into what was going on with the knee.

“Doing several adjustments for her knee actually provided much better stability. We realized, in her case, she had pain in the low back and in the pelvis because of what was happening in her knee, and was shifting weight off of it. That shift of weight affected her pelvis and her lower back.

“It wasn’t until I adjusted her knee that her low back really actually changed, and her body held the adjustments. That was a really pivotal turning point. Because, early on, all of her chiropractic care had just been adjusting her back, adjusting her back, adjusting her back. Adjusting the knee, turned out to be the key for the alignments to stay in place.

“She had these difficult issues during her first pregnancy but with the Gonstead approach, she experienced a completely different, positive change in her second pregnancy and delivery.”