Taking the Gonstead approach to chiropractic

Chiropractor Theo Gip of the Chiropractic Health and Injury Center of Silverdale works with patient Courtney Dormaier, 8. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Chiropractor Theo Gip of the Chiropractic Health and Injury Center of Silverdale works with patient Courtney Dormaier, 8.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

As a child, Erwin Gemmer watched helplessly as his mother’s health deteriorated over the years.

Her illnesses ran the gamut from extreme headaches and exhaustion to fainting.

It wasn’t until Gemmer’s sister became a chiropractor and suggested their mother visit one that the family saw a change for the better. With his mother’s health vastly improving, it was then Gemmer knew that chiropractic would be in his future.

“I thought, ‘This would be a good thing to do,’” he said.

Now in his 33rd year of chiropractic, Gemmer works with two other chiropractors, Theo Gip and Carlos Munoz, at his Ridgetop Boulevard office — Chiropractic Health and Injury Center of Silverdale.

Many of the patients they see, Gemmer said, have a range of health issues with the majority being headaches, insomnia and digestive problems.

“We want to find the four or five things that are bothering a person,” he said.

Their specialty, however, is working with patients who experience chronic headaches, many of them who have relied on medications for many years.

“The drugs people are taking for headaches are so damaging,” he said. “Headaches are a warning sign of something wrong with the central nervous system. We, and all chiropractors, work with changing the position of the spine back to normal. We only work on vertebrae that have been knocked out of place.”

Gemmer, Gip and Munoz all specialize in Gonstead, “an advanced system for chiropractic care,” according to Gemmer. Named after chiropractor Clarence S. Gonstead, this approach is often summarized by the phrase he coined, “Find the subluxation, accept it where you find it, correct it and leave it alone,” according to

“We find which vertebrae are out of place and which way they’re out of place,” Gemmer said.

To ensure they are moving the right bones, Gemmer, Gip and Munoz rely on the latest technology.

“In order to move the right bones, the right direction, we have to be able to see them all the time,” Gemmer said.

When patients arrive at the office, they scan a card which brings up their x-rays. One of the three chiropractors are then able to bring up the patient’s x-ray no matter what room they are in.

A technique the office employed this year, Munoz describes it as “changing the way we help patients.”

When it comes to chiropractic care, Gemmer says that in many cases patients have turned to it as a last resort when it should have been the first.

Ketti Deven, now an office manager at the center, turned to chiropractic care after her migraines became unbearable and her prescribed medication didn’t help.

In 2001 she turned to Gemmer for relief.

“I was still having headaches every day. He showed that my neck was severely reversed and I started getting adjusted, she said. I haven’t had a severe migraine attack in five years. He saved me and I came to work for him.”

The center offers a no-charge consultation and preliminary examination to all new patients.

“It gives us a chance to do a preliminary check-up and see if you’re in the right place,” Gemmer said.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates