Most healthcare providers across all specialties utilize X-rays as part of the diagnostic process. In fact, you’ve probably had X-rays taken by a care provider if you’ve ever had dental work or medical surgery done for any reason in the past. It’s no different when you work with a chiropractor. An X-ray gives a chiropractor a detailed look at an area of concern within the body. In some cases, this is crucial for properly diagnosing and treating issues that are creating pain or long-term damage. We’re going to explore the important relationship between an X-ray and diagnosis.
What Are the Benefits?
An X-ray can give a chiropractor a new “set of eyes” to see a problem with. One of the major benefits of an X-ray is that it can reveal things like spinal lesions or tumors. It is very important to know if any type of growth is present because certain medical procedures or courses of care should not be pursued under these conditions. That means that an X-ray could ultimately protect a patient’s health while helping to produce a better treatment outcome. Here’s a look at some of the other common occurrences that can be detected through X-rays:
- Alignment issues.
- Bone-density issues.
- Bone spurs.
- Bone separation.
- Disk degeneration.
- Infections/cancer infections.
- Narrowing joint spaces.
X-rays can be important if you have any reason to believe that you’re suffering from tumors, lesions or other similar underlying issues. It’s sometimes impossible to fully rule out those possibilities without an X-ray. An X-ray can also reveal any type of anomaly that could be present within your spine, joints or other area of the body. This knowledge can really guide a chiropractor’s ability to help you make the proper treatment decisions.
X-rays only show effectiveness when diagnosing issues related to the bones and joints. This is not the methodology that is typically used to address soft-tissue issues. A chiropractor may recommend an MRI for those types of issues. It’s important to let your chiropractor know if you are pregnant prior to agreeing to X-rays. It is not recommended for pregnant women to have X-rays done.
What Are Some Situations That Might Require X-Rays?
X-rays may not be necessary for every patient. However, they can be quite helpful for certain clusters of patients. Here are some factors that could sway a chiropractor to determine that an X-ray would be advantageous for a patient:
- A patient is above the age of 65.
- Tumors or cancerous growths are suspected.
- A patient has sustained a significant injury.
- An infection many be the cause of pain.
- A patient has or is at risk for osteoporosis.
- Spinal instability is suspected.
- A patient is experiencing chronic pain that is not subsiding with treatment.
Generally, an X-ray could be considered important if it will help the patient and provider to make informed treatment decisions. An X-ray may make it possible to streamline a treatment approach because there is less need for guesswork. A patient who is experiencing an escalating or degenerative condition may benefit greatly from the time that is saved through a swift diagnosis made with the assistance of X-ray images.
Does Every Chiropractor Use X-Rays?
No, not every chiropractor uses X-rays during the diagnostic process. However, it’s impossible to say what percentage doesn’t. Chiropractors that do utilize X-rays only do so when the action is fully justified for the health and wellness of a patient. Chiropractors don’t conduct X-rays simply for exploratory purposes. X-rays are used as tools for confirming or ruling out specific conditions.
Do You Have to Agree to X-Rays When Seeing a Chiropractor?
The decision regarding whether or not to receive X-rays will ultimately come down to your own discretion. Of course, it is recommended that you at least listen to your care provider’s rationale for suggesting X-rays. This may simply aid in creating the fastest route to discovering and treating the root cause of severe pain that you may be experiencing.
Are X-Rays Done by a Chiropractor Harmful?
Many people have concerns and hesitations regarding X-rays because they are worried about the radiation that’s emitted. This is a very valid concern. Of course, your chiropractor will be considering your medical history to determine if you are in the high-risk category for X-rays. Today’s X-ray technology emits a very low level of radiation that is not much different from what you’d encounter while taking a flight or walking around your town. What’s more, precautions are taken throughout the X-ray process to reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation by as much as possible. It’s important to speak with your chiropractor if you have any concerns regarding X-rays. It will also be important to weigh the risks associated with X-rays against the risks of allowing a dangerous growth to remain undetected.
How Should We View X-Rays in Chiropractic Care?
The bottom line is that X-Rays are not necessarily considered part of the standard diagnosis process in chiropractic care. It’s true that certain symptoms and circumstances may definitely justify the use of X-rays. However, chiropractors are often able to use a variety of techniques for spotting or feeling potential musculoskeletal issues when working on a patient. Chiropractors also have a host of noninvasive diagnostic tools that help them to understand the underlying causes of pain or discomfort that a patient may be experiencing.
How Can I Have Chiropractic X-Rays Done?
Chiropractic X-rays are just one part of a full-picture diagnostic plan. An X-ray is not the first step in treatment. As a new patient, you will have an opportunity to discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. Your chiropractor will use information gathered by talking to you and reviewing your medical history to see if an X-ray would be beneficial in your case. It’s possible that your problem may be diagnosed properly through an examination and discussion of your symptoms.
Do you suspect that you’re suffering from a bone, joint or spinal issue that might require an X-ray? It’s important to book a consultation with a chiropractor to get to the bottom of what might be causing your pain or loss of mobility. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office as soon as possible!