In the chiropractic profession 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. 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 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 almost instantly. 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-ray usage at Back in Balance
In our office we decide if x-rays are necessary based on the patient’s symptoms, history and examination. When looking at the x-ray we look to determine if we think they 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 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.