Back in Balance Family Chiropractic

X-rays and Chiropractic Care

x-rays are a tool chiropractors use to improve patient care.

By: Adam Renelt, DC

Updated 2/13/2024

In the chiropractic profession (and in our Sioux Falls office) x-rays are a commonly used tool to try to help determine the best ways to help our patients.  X-rays have been a valuable tool used by chiropractors for over a century. In my opinion, as technology develops further, x-rays will continue offer valuable information. X-rays and chiropractic care likely will be linked together for the foreseeable future.  When I attended chiropractic college almost all x-rays were done with plain film. Plain film means that the image is shown on an actual physical piece of film and then viewed on internally lit device called a view box. Plain film x-rays have to be developed with chemicals in a dark room.  Technology has improved since then.  Currently, digital x-ray is used in most chiropractic and medical practices. Digital technology allows for better images and can be viewed on a computer screen almost instantly after an image is taken.  Digital images can also be transmitted easier to other providers and stored much easier than plain film x-ray.

Why do Chiropractors use X-rays?

So why do chiropractors use x-rays?  Many people think of x-rays as being used only to look for broken bones and other pathologies. However, chiropractors often use x-ray analysis to look for information that may make chiropractic adjustments more effective.  I have had patients that didn’t respond well to care until we took an x-ray. Using the information from the x-rays we modified our adjustments, and they responded better to care. Certain conditions, like a spondylolisthesis, may only be apparent on x-ray and may change what spinal regions an adjustment could or should be performed on.  Also, if a patient has an abnormal curvature, or “scoliosis”, in their spine, an x-ray may help us track changes in the condition.  Sometimes, an x-ray may show a broken bone or other problem that needs to be addressed by a medical doctor or another health care provider. 

x-rays are a tool chiropractors use to improve patient care.
A lateral x-ray of the neck.

X-ray usage at Back in Balance Family Chiropractic

In our office we decide if x-rays are necessary based on the patient’s symptoms, history and examination. If an x-ray is needed, we do have a digital x-ray system in our office. One of the ways we use an x-ray is to determine if there are any problems that are a contraindication (reason not to adjust) to receiving chiropractic adjustments.  If there is something that we are concerned about we may send the x-rays to a radiologist to be read. We may choose to refer our patient to another provider for further evaluation.  Also, we look for arthritis or other signs of wear and tear.   Finally, we will perform an analysis to determine what direction the pelvis and vertebra are shifted (if at all). This will help us to determine spinal listings. Spinals listings help guide our chiropractic adjustments to be more specific. This may lead to better results for the patient.  If you have any questions about chiropractic care in Sioux Falls or would like to schedule an appointment at our office, please contact us.  At your appointment we will discuss your case. We will also let you know if we think x-rays may be beneficial for your care.

Adam Renelt, DC is the founder of Back in Balance Chiropractic. Dr. Adam grew up on a farm in South Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 2004. In 2007 he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic with his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and started his career in private practice. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and son.  In his free time he enjoys reading and being outdoors, mountain biking and hiking.

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