Your doctor of chiropractic will likely discuss taking x-rays of your spine before beginning your program. Different bone structure in patients is
important to see before a specific adjustment is made. The doctor may then choose different directions for the forces to ensure that the adjustment results in the best correction of the
problem. In 5-6% of the population, the spinal structure has a fracture at a portion of bone in the low back. This fracture (called a spondylolysis) usually develops due to a genetic weakness in
the area. It can also be caused by trauma such as in gymnastics or football. The fracture has been identified in a child as young as two years of age. Back pain may or may not be present when this
abnormality exists. The separated bone can subluxate forward. This is called a spondylolisthesis.
In addition to fracture, the x-ray is also used to see small changes in alignment called subluxations.
The doctor uses the position of bones to determine where the ligaments in your spinal column have been stretched or torn. A three-dimensional picture in the doctor's
mind is needed prior to the adjustment. The adjustive force is then made in a precise fashion into the directions that reduce tension on the damaged ligaments. Since a high speed thrust into your spinal
column is a vigorous procedure, it is important that the doctor use x-ray to more precisely determine how the adjustment is to be made. Also, when the precise correction of the subluxation is made
from the start of care, fewer adjustments are usually needed because of their more correct nature.
The usefulness of x-ray in assisting the doctor in both diagnosing
and adjusting the subluxation is apparent. The benefits of x-ray however, must always be weighed against the risks of exposure to radiation. For this reason, pregnant women are often excluded from
x-ray examination since the fetus is more sensitive to exposure. In most cases, the benefits of the x-ray outweigh the small risks. Your doctor should utilize the latest in technologies to minimize
x-ray exposure. Consult your doctor of chiropractic about your individual health concerns and information that was detected in your x-ray examination. When patients understand their health
problems and the objectives of the chiropractor, they respond more quickly to care.