Why Chiropractors Take X-Rays
Diagnostics represent one of the most important elements of chiropractic care. To determine how a treatment could provide the patient with a positive result, it is necessary to fully understand what is going on in the patient’s musculoskeletal system. A doctor of chiropractic makes use of a variety of diagnostic techniques — x-ray imaging is one of them.
Not all chiropractors use x-rays, and not all patients require them. The use of diagnostic imaging in chiropractic care is controversial, with some claiming that it unnecessarily exposes the patient to excess radiation. However, x-rays can offer potential benefits to patients and practitioners alike.
Explaining the Patient’s Condition
It is important that every patient has a clear understanding of his or her condition. Explaining this in a way that the patient can understand without using a lot of medical jargon can be a challenge. A visual image allows a chiropractor to both show and tell a patient what is going on in his or her body and how chiropractic treatment can help.
Patients most likely feel improvement during and after a course of chiropractic treatment. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to see exactly how the process is working and what changes are taking place within the body. Before-and-after x-rays can demonstrate this to a patient better than anything else.
Updating the Patient’s History
A patient’s medical history can often provide clues to diagnosing and treating current issues. X-ray images of a patient’s current musculoskeletal issues may assist a chiropractor or other provider in diagnosing and treating additional problems in the future.
Confirming a Diagnosis
A patient’s initial evaluation may involve a visual evaluation and palpation, during which the chiropractor uses touch to determine the source of the problem. This may give the practitioner a general idea of what issues the patient is experiencing. However, to get more specific information and confirm the diagnosis, it can be helpful to perform an x-ray to see exactly what is going on inside the patient’s body.
Seeing the Whole Picture
Chiropractic care focuses on treating the musculoskeletal system. It stands to reason that visualizing the bones directly can be helpful in making a diagnosis. The most effective and efficient way to accomplish this is still with x-ray imaging. There are other more advanced imaging techniques available, but they are less useful to chiropractic care — either because they visualize the soft tissues rather than the bones, or because they are used more in surgical planning, while chiropractic consists of conservative treatment.
A good chiropractor would be happy to address any concerns that you have about his or her radiological policy and answer any other questions that you have about chiropractic care in general.