Are X-rays Necessary for Chiropractic Care?

“Don’t I Need X-rays?”

A question I am often asked by new patients is, “Doc, don’t you need to order X-rays on me before I get adjusted?” This is a common concern many patients have because traditionally, a large part of the chiropractic profession has ordered routine X-rays on new patients before treatment. However, the times have changed this is not a recommended practice according to the American Chiropractic Association unless certain symptoms or patient history accompany a condition. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association does not support chiropractors ordering X-rays in the 6 weeks following the onset of acute low back pain. At Seminole Heights Chiropractic & Wellness, if X-rays or other diagnostic imaging is indicated prior to chiropractic care, our patients are sent out to nearby imaging centers and have board certified radiologists interpret their films.

Do Bones Go Out of Place?

A common concept amongst the general population is that chiropractors “put bones back in place” and X-rays are needed to see where “they are out” of alignment. This theory came about in the late 1800’s by the founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, with the concept of vertebral subluxation. Subluxation translates in Latin to “sub = partial” and “luxation = dislocation”. This concept meant that bones of the spinal column would shift and become partially dislocated out of place causing physical ailments from nervous system interference. If this were theory were true, spinal cord and nerve root impingement from dislocating vertebrae would be detrimental and become a medical emergency for the individual. Fortunately, a lot has changed with science since the early 20th century and current evidence does not support this theory. Bones do not move out of place in healthy adults but rather joints become fixated due to many reasons, including muscle spasms, myofascial adhesions and arthritic changes. Some conditions though such as dislocation and spondylolisthesis do cause bones to move out of position and should be evaluated by a medical provider if suspected. Fortunately in the absence of serious symptoms, skilled chiropractic physicians can diagnose joint fixations and most associated conditions without the use of X-rays. Once an evaluation has been completed, an individualized treatment plan will be formulated to help your spine and joints reduce pain, improve range of motion, and enhance function.

Is Chiropractic Care Right for Me?

At Seminole Heights Chiropractic & Wellness, advanced imaging such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans is only ordered if we believe there is an issue that needs to be further visualized for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Upon arrival at the clinic, Dr. Koser will sit down with you for a consultation, perform a thorough examination, and explain your diagnosis and treatment options if you are a candidate for chiropractic care. Dr. Koser is currently accepting new patients with spine and joint pain. Click here to schedule a free consultation to see if chiropractic care is right for you.

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