Why Do Chiropractors Take X-Rays?

Why Do Chiropractors Take X-Rays?

A normal (right) and abnormal (left) cervical spine

Why do chiropractors take x-rays? Many new patients in our office often wonder that on their first visit. Most people think that x-rays are used to find broken or dislocated bones and pathologies. However, chiropractors take x-rays to also see the condition of the spine and analyse it for subluxations. There are a recent article in PubMed detailing a radiographic study of 10,922 German Airmen. The study group consisted of young, healthy men with no symptoms what so ever. The study included images the whole spine in A to P and lateral projection, the cervical spine in oblique projection, and in a subunit of 5,781 men the lumbar spine in oblique projection.

The findings were numerous!

  • A mild habit scoliosis: 80.4%
  • Structural scoliosis: 9%
  • Severe thoracal kyphosis without severe lumbar lordosis: 5.1%
  • Together with severe lumbar lordosis: 30.8%
  • Mild forms of kyphosis of adolescence: 23.3%
  • Severe forms of kyphosis of adolescence:  2.1%
  • Cuneiform deformation of vertebral body: 4.9%
  • Sacralization: 7.8%,
  • Lumbarization: 5.9%,
  • Spondylolysis: 6.2%,
  • Spondylolisthesis: 4.3%
  • Lumbar chondrosis: 2.1%.
  • Chondrosis of the thoracal and cervical spine, osteochondrosis and fused vertebral bodies were found in less than 0.8% each.

So why do chiropractors take x-rays?

Only 2.6% of the men in this study were found to have no spinal pathologies. This shows importance of radiological spine examinations especially for industrial and preventive medicine. Considering other ailments listed in the study (spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, lumbarization and sacralization) all fell within the same percentages the radiographic text books states, it would be safe to say that the average person is 97.4% likely to have a spinal pathology and not even know its there. That is one of the major reasons why chiropractors take x-rays. via [Radiographically demonstrable spinal changes in asympt… [Rofo. 1995] – PubMed – NCBI.

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