Are X-Rays Necessary for Chiropractic Care? Six Things You Should Know
When visiting a chiropractor for the first time, you may be wondering what you can expect. Especially if you’re hesitant about that first visit, know that visiting a chiropractor is an experience not to worry about. Whether you visit a chiropractor for back pain, a sore neck or another reason, you’ll go through a similar process of care.
One topic that is often addressed when being introduced to chiropractic care is if taking an X-ray is a necessary step in the process. While X-rays may be highly beneficial in some situations, they may in fact not always be necessary.
Typically, X-rays are not required for a visit to the chiropractor for mild injuries or pain. However, there may be cases when an X-ray is needed to better alleviate your pain or misalignment. Here, we share six important things to know in determining if an X-ray is necessary for chiropractic care.
1) There Are Arguments for X-Rays and Arguments Against X-Rays
When determining if an X-ray is essential in seeking treatment for your condition, you may hear both opinions.
An article from Spine Health notes that some chiropractors may see X-rays as a standard procedure in welcoming in a new patient. A chiropractor may include an X-ray to rule out a tumor or fracture or to assist in determining how and where to adjust your spine.
However, the article does assure that in most cases, an X-ray is not required. In fact, they note that in one study, only 15% of X-rays brought a change in treatments. Therefore, it’s common to only include an X-ray if the evaluation warrants one.
2) X-Rays Are Recommended for Traumatic Injuries
One situation that may warrant the need for an X-ray is if you have experienced a traumatic injury. X-rays have the power to show what’s happening within the body. A general evaluation may not be able to be as detailed.
A benefit of the X-ray is that it can get a glimpse of the alignment and structure of the body on a more in-depth level. Kamper Chiropractic, a chiropractor in Woodbridge, VA, notes that an X-ray can also point out issues such as scar tissue or arthritis, which may change the suggested course of treatment.
In the case of a broken bone, an X-ray is important in seeing where the break may be. An X-ray can also show if any joints are dislocated. Knowing the exact location of breaks and dislocations will allow you to get on the appropriate path toward healing.
3) X-Rays Can Show Infections or Diseases
Especially in cases where the cause of pain is unknown, an X-ray may be helpful in determining it. An X-ray can be helpful if an infection may be the cause of pain. Since such precision may be difficult to be addressed in a consultation, an X-ray may be able to provide some clarity.
The X-ray may also be able to show if a significant disease is the cause of the spine, bone or joint pain. Issues with your back or neck could be caused by cancer or a tumor. An X-ray will be most effective in identifying and discounting that possibility.
If a type of joint disease may be the cause, an X-ray can help you determine if it’s actually the case. A joint disease such as arthritis can be noticed by using an X-ray.
4) X-Rays Are Beneficial if You Have Osteoporosis
If you have osteoporosis, an X-ray may be most effective at identifying a fracture caused by your osteoporosis. Even if you are just at risk of osteoporosis, a fracture is most easily seen through an X-ray.
5) Overuse of an X-Ray may Point to Unnecessary Treatments
In most cases of spinal pain or misalignment, there is rarely one sole cause. An article by Samuel Homola from Chirobase mentions the chiropractic theory, which states that misalignment is a result of many health issues. A chiropractor may be tempted to use an X-ray in hopes of quickly finding an isolated issue and offer immediate treatment. Be sure you actually need an X-ray before you jump under that radiation.
6) The Chiropractor Looks at a Lot of Things on the X-Ray
Unless your injury is certainly localized in just one area, the chiropractor can take a lot of information from your X-ray. One of the first things a chiropractor will check is for any dislocated joints, cancer, infections or other issues. They’ll also look at your disk height and be alert for any sign of degeneration of disks or other bone issues. Once the chiropractor or doctor has the information, they are better equipped to recommend the proper treatment.
Talk with Your Doctor About Your Options
Before you agree to an X-ray, be sure that undergoing that process will benefit you. Know the potential causes of your pain and whether an X-ray is warranted by those factors.
A conversation with your chiropractor or doctor can help you determine your next step so you can get on with feeling better and living healthy.