X-RAYS: LOOKING DEEPER INTO THE SPINE
The majority of people in this world will break at least one bone somewhere in the body during their lifetimes. How do doctors look for broken bones? That’s right, x-ray. X-ray is a form of diagnostic imaging used to look for several different pathologies as well as fractures. X-ray was discovered in November 1895, 2-months after chiropractic was discovered. It wasn’t until 1910 that chiropractic started using x-rays as a form of diagnosis. In this week’s blog, we will be discussing the importance of x-rays and how we utilize them in our office.
The Importance of X-rays
Imagine going to the hospital for a fractured arm and the doctor doesn’t take an x-ray. Imagine going to a dentist for surgical dental work without an x-ray to see which tooth is damaged. Imagine having pneumonia and the doctor not taking an x-ray to see the severity. There are endless reasons why x-rays are vital for patient health and help determine matter of life or death.
Yes, we know using the term “death” is pretty extreme, but the different pathologies that can be found on x-rays can be life threatening. A lot of people think that x-rays are used only for bone fractures, but that is not true. Whenever someone is admitted into the hospital, doctors may want to rule out worst case scenarios by taking an x-ray. Taking an x-ray and finding pathology may also save a patient time and money from needing more intense diagnostic imaging such as an MRI or CT scan.
So other than fractures, what else can doctors find on x-rays? An extensive list, these are just some of the most common pathologies:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Kidney Stones/Gallstones
- Collapsed Lung
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Aggressive Bone Cancers
- Congestive Heart Failure
Yes, even the worst-case scenarios can appear on x-rays if they are aggressive enough. Even a chiropractor, while not looking for these pathologies, is trained to recognize them and refer the patient to the appropriate medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How Do We Utilize X-rays?
There are several different reasons as to why chiropractors should be taking x-rays on every patient. Whether its to look at the spine visually for any rotation, pathology or they’re used for a specific chiropractic technique, it gives a doctor a start to where the patient is and what they need to do in order to get the patient better. Unfortunately, though, many chiropractors are removing x-rays from their facility and relying on their hands and the naked eye to formulate and treat a diagnosis. What patient wants to be treated based solely on subjective findings and not know visually what is wrong with the spine? We definitely would not.
At our facility, we will not adjust a patient without taking x-rays in the region of complaint. We do not feel confident or comfortable for that matter adjusting a patient blind sided and not knowing truly the rotation of the spine or any pathology that may go along with it. We position patients very precise, so that we get everything in the x-ray that we need to see and are able to treat patients correctly and help them get better faster.
Sometimes, more than one set of x-rays may be required because a patient may not be responding as quickly as we anticipated. Taking another set of x-rays allows us to see two things:
- Make sure nothing has got worse or rotate in a different direction.
- Show us that the body has properly align and no more aggressive adjustments are needed for the time being.
Now that you have a better understanding of why taking x-rays are important, would you still want to get treated without the doctor adjusting the nervous system? Realize, that x-rays can be the best answer to know what is wrong and get the patient better quicker than without taking them. To learn more about x-rays and our office procedures, please call us at (724) 547-3377 and checkout our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more content
Yours In Health,
Larry E. Wilkins, DC
Brian M. Steinert, DC