Why do I need x-rays before getting adjusted?

Oftentimes when you come to a new office they will take x-rays of your area of complaint.  X-rays are not always needed for treatment but visualization of the area of complaint can be an important piece of the puzzle. At ACS, we want to not only know WHAT is happening but, what can be more important, is WHY it is happening.  

X-rays are a 2D picture of your spine (or other bony areas of your body) that helps us conclude a more accurate diagnosis and allows for us to create a treatment plan that will be specifically catered to your condition. From the x-ray, we gather many vital bits of information that help us key in on where to begin treatment. Here are some examples of the information that we can gather from x-rays:

  1. Osteopenia, which is a loss of bone mineral density (BMD) that weakens bones. It’s more common in people older than 50, especially women. Osteopenia has no signs or symptoms but it is important to know in case a patient is susceptible to possible fracture with adjustments. 
  2. Degenerative changes, which are visualized with x-rays due to the disc space in between vertebrae.  These are not seen on the x-ray because it does not have calcium in it.  What you can see are the space(s) between the vertebrae where the disc height can be measured. This is also seen within joint spaces such as knees, hips and shoulders as well.
  3. Alignment, such as, scoliosis, high shoulder, head tilt, rotation, and misalignment, are all seen with an x-ray to help confirm what is often visualized without x-ray, but can also be not obvious to the human eye.
  4. Congenital Deformities, which are normal variants of the body that are often hereditary but are not of any concern for your health. However, if you have vertebrae that are blocked together that is important information to know before having a chiropractic adjustment.
  5. Arthritis, which could mean osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Similar to degenerative changes but can have the addition of bone spurs, stenosis, or calcification changes in joints or bones.

While this is not an all-inclusive list, it covers the wide array of conditions that can be visualized and helpful in finding your WHY to help you get back the best quality of life here at ACS.

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