As a practicing chiropractor, one of the most common questions I get is whether or not a person needs to have x-rays for me to evaluate their condition. Like vaccine discussions, this tends to be a controvercial topic.
The only reasonable answer is, "It depends..."
While there are certainly times when imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI are required in order to be able to fully evaluate a patient, those instances are less common than most people believe.
In the past, chiropractor’s relied heavily upon x-rays in order to evaluate patients and, unfortunately, to justify their professional services.
Well, as time goes on and the science improves, so have the “best practices” in terms of x-rays in chiropractic.
Recently, the largest professional organization of chiropractors in the United States, the American Chiropractic Association updated its guidelines to recommend AGAINST the routine use of x-rays in chiropractic practice.
“Unnecessary imaging incurs monetary cost, exposes the patient to ionizing radiation, and can result in labeling patients with conditions that are not clinically meaningful, creating a false sense of vulnerability and disability.
Indeed, several studies have shown that the routine use of radiographs in the care of low back pain may result in worse outcomes than without their use.”
Worse outcomes! So not only are x-rays frequently costly, and expose the person to more radiation, but they can be associated with WORSE OUTCOMES!
Current recommendations indicate that the doctor should evaluate each case and individually, only use x-rays when deemed necessary, rather than routinely using them on all or nearly all patients.
At Spine+Fit Clinic, we do just that, through history and physical examination. If imaging is required, we rely upon the expert technicians and radiologists at Cheyenne Radiology Group to give us the best possible information, evaluated by the true experts in the field of medical imaging. (Honestly, I have amazed at the care and quality of their services since beginning Spine+Fit Clinic in Cheyenne).
Thus, the days of routine x-rays with numerous pencil lines and milimetric measurements, are mostly behind us. Instead, modern chiropractors adopt a function first approach with active care (exercise) replacing passive modalities as a complement to the chiropractic adjustment.
At Spine+Fit Clinic, we treat the patient, not their x-rays (or other images) to help each individual #getbetterstaybetter.