Chiropractors Often Utilize X-ray Studies
Based on the nature of your condition as well as a number of other factors, x-ray studies of your spine or injured body part may be indicated. Doctors of chiropractic receive over 300 hours of x-ray studies in college prior to graduating and thus are fully trained to take radiographs and identify subtle abnormalities of the spine as well as more serious pathologies.
X-rays Are Safe and Provide Valuable Information
X-rays are a relatively safe and cost effective way to view the structure and general condition of the spine. They can reveal spinal regions under high stress and expose areas of degenerative change. This can often provide essential additional information which correlates history and examination findings allowing for a more accurate spinal analysis and a more individualized and effective treatment plan. X-rays are also useful in assessing the appropriateness of chiropractic care as they can help to rule out the existence of more serious pathological processes such as spinal fractures, tumors and infections which require immediate emergency medical intervention.
Procedures Used To Minimize Exposure
While prolonged exposure to radiation can be potentially harmful to the human body, the diagnostic x-rays utilized by the chiropractic doctor pose a minimal health risk. In fact, according to radiation guidelines for diagnostic x-ray studies, it would take more than 300 full spine x-rays performed by a chiropractor for these guidelines to be met. In addition, the following steps are used to further reduce the amount of x-ray exposure:
- Only necessary x-ray views will be taken eliminating unnecessary x-ray exposure
- Shielding & filtration to block or reduce the x-ray beam from affecting sensitive tissues and areas of nondiagnostic interest
- Rare earth (intensifying) screens can cut x-ray exposure by 50 percent
- Collimation to narrow the x-ray beam to include areas of interest only
- Grids to reduce scatter radiation and improve x-ray quality
- High speed film lowers exposure time by up to 1/12th compared to "hospital" x-rays
- Increasing kilovoltage and minimizing milliamperage further reduces x-ray dosage
- Minimal exposure times of just 100ths of a second
- Regular changing of processor chemicals to give high quality, diagnostic films
Depending on the findings, the chiropractor may call for an MRI or other imaging study of the back.