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One of the most important elements of chiropractic care is diagnostics. Chiropractors rely on a variety of diagnostic techniques in order to fully understand what is occurring in the patient’s musculoskeletal system, and how a given treatment intervention could bring about positive results in said patient.
One of the most heavily relied on diagnostic techniques in chiropractic care is the X-ray. This diagnostic technique is often thought of as antiquated, with many other imaging processes being developed since the X-ray that provide us with a deeper understanding of the body’s internal layout. However, these imaging processes are all confounded in the use of surgery and invasive procedures to get that far inside the body.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, CT Scans, and many other innovative imaging procures are used in the planning stages of surgery, if X-rays do not provide as vivid of an image as a physician needs. Chiropractic care is free of any sort of surgery, leaving chiropractors only to need to see the layout of the bones in the body, which is exactly what the X-ray provides.
Because chiropractic care uses spinal manipulation and other techniques that involve movement of skeletal components with the hands or with the use of the instrument, an X-ray can show a chiropractor exactly what is happening in the body in terms of alignment and structure. The X-ray conveys some other information too, such as the presence of scar tissue or arthritis in a given area, both occurrences that need to be considered when forming some sort of treatment pathway.
It is important to highlight that X-rays are not used universally in chiropractic care. In most patients, the chiropractor is able to determine what is occurring in the musculoskeletal system without the need for imaging technology. X-rays are usually reserved for the more severe cases in which there may be a serious condition present, such as scoliosis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, or anything else.
There are some other imaging technologies that are used in chiropractic care, but these are even more rare. In order to fully grasp the condition of a given patient’s musculoskeletal health, an X-ray may be used to gain additional insight after the initial examination. By looking at the spine and joints from different angles, there may be a discovery that wouldn't have been noted before. Some are concerned about the use of x-rays, but the benefits far outweigh the risks.
There are some local chiropractic offices that never take or refer for x-rays. Probably to keep their running costs down as X-Ray machines are very expensive.
Know that Chiropractors have used x-rays of the spine since the early 1900’s to diagnose and treat patients. Over my 29+ years in practice, I have found x-rays to be an essential part of the Chiropractic experience – from the initial examination of the patient, diagnosis and subsequent treatment. So much, that we invested in a Digital X-Ray unit back in 2009, before many hospitals utilized digital x-rays. Caring for thousands of people over the years, the x-rays have helped me shape my treatment plan as well as serve as a life-saving device.
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