Chiropractors rely on manual manipulation and some devices to stimulate the central nervous system’s pathway or realign the spine. Although invasive procedures are unnecessary, chiropractors consider X-ray images vital for diagnosing and treating various conditions.
X-rays Can Help Eliminate a Diagnosis
After consulting with a patient, a chiropractor may determine that X-rays are necessary to rule out other causes for pain and discomfort before proceeding. Sometimes, X-rays can reveal problems that may warrant further investigation or medical interventions, including:
- Congenital malformations
Ruling out other problems can help chiropractors create treatment plans and allow patients to obtain the appropriate care for their circumstances.
X-rays Can Guide Treatment
Having a clear view of the extent of a problem can be invaluable in helping a chiropractor determine which treatment modality to use and how long treatment should last. For example, X-rays can show the extent to which vertebrae are out of alignment, the amount of space between vertebrae, and the degree to which they may be impinging on surrounding tissue. Chiropractors can also use X-rays to ascertain treatment progress and the effectiveness of specific treatment strategies.
X-rays Can Help Predict Future Outcomes
Although a chiropractor relies upon palpation to assess a patient’s spinal alignment and range of motion, it is impossible to use this method to predict future changes. X-rays allow chiropractors to see their patients’ conditions from multiple perspectives and predict how they might evolve. Periodic X-ray evaluations can benefit patients with scoliosis or spinal stenosis because they guide a chiropractor’s therapeutic approach over time.
X-rays Can Reveal Asymptomatic Conditions
Chiropractors usually take X-rays before treating someone following a traumatic event like a car accident. Injuries, including hairline fractures, do not always cause immediate pain but could worsen over time. Some fractures will gradually heal without treatment, but unless a chiropractor knows that they exist, attempting an adjustment anywhere on the body could lead to a more severe break that could interfere with a patient’s recovery.
X-rays are also advisable before treating older patients who may have undiagnosed osteoporosis. The appearance of hairline fractures on X-rays can alert patients about the condition and ensure that the chiropractor avoids excessive pressure that could lead to full breaks or other complications.
Chiropractors must take the time to examine patients thoroughly before attempting spinal adjustments. X-rays are vital to ensuring a thoughtful and effective treatment plan proper evaluation because they reveal everything a chiropractor needs to know before starting treatment.