Why Use X-Rays?
Simply put—for precision and safety. Doctors of Chiropractic are highly skilled and trained to utilize certain assessments in locating segments or entire regions of your spine which may be displaced/misaligned (known as ‘subluxations’) and thus problematic; this may include postural assessment and both static and motion palpation, among others. However, despite these skills, in reality the only way to see what your spinal alignment looks like is to obtain spinal imaging such as Radiography or X-ray. Not only is this important for precision in diagnosis and treatment, but it will also assist your doctor in ruling out rare situations where adjustment of a spinal segment may not be safe. The more information your doctor has about your spine, the better they can help you. For example: if your car’s engine isn’t functioning properly, would you bring your car in to the mechanic and not allow them to look under the hood? Similarly, why would you want a doctor to adjust/treat your spine without having an X-ray to see what your spine looks like?
For proper corrective chiropractic care, CBP® protocols require that the doctor must measure the displacements/misalignments on spinal radiographs (known as ‘subluxations’). Both side-view (LATERAL) and anterior to posterior (AP) or frontal view CBP® X-ray analysis (via line-drawing procedures) have been studied and found to be reliable. Importantly, CBP® standardized X-ray positioning procedures have also been studied and found to be reliable.
As with measures of pain intensity, range of motion, or quality of life, a periodic assessment of spinal structural alignment via X-ray is important to evaluate progress and determine when maximum patient improvement has been reached.