Do I Really Need to Have X-Rays?

This is a question that we get from time to time from a prospective patient…do they really need to have x-rays taken?  This is a great question, especially since not all chiropractors use x-rays.  Just like a dentist uses x-rays as part of their normal exam, x-rays are an important part of a specific upper cervical chiropractic examination.  And just like how the dentist wants to know the alignment and overall health of the teeth, the same is true in our office when it comes to your spinal structure.  Being able to actually see and measure specific shifts in the alignment of the spinal structures (vertebra) in the spine eliminates guesswork, ensures a precise and specific correction and greatly increases both patient safety and quality of care.

The most common and legitimate concern people have is how much radiation exposure comes with taking x-rays.  This is a valid concern.  Most people are surprised to learn that we are exposed to radiation on a daily basis termed ‘background radiation’.  We are exposed to it in many forms; atmospheric (the sun’s UV rays), cell phones, airplanes and in our homes from radon gas.  X-ray exposure is measured in what are called millisieverts (mSv). It is estimated that the average person is exposed to 2-3 mSv per year in background radiation. Additionally, different parts of the body absorb radiation in different ways and thinner structures, like your neck or hands for example, require less radiation than someone’s abdomen.  To put this all into perspective, the specific x-rays we take of the neck equate to 0.2 mSv of radiation, which is roughly only 6 weeks’ worth of background radiation.  And just like your body has the ability to heal from a cut, it has the ability to ‘heal’ and recover from x-rays.

Our X-ray technology allows us to pinpoint down to the millimeter and degree the position of the misaligned bones. The filters we use on our machine protect the patient, decrease radiation exposure and allow for a more precise image.  This enables us to tailor our care specifically to your body and your condition. This is why our care is so gentle, specific, safe and effective and also why we take x-rays in the first place. At the end of the day, the most important things for us are your health and our reputation, and we will not compromise either in helping you achieve your goals as quickly, safely and effectively as possible.

Be well,

Dr. Andrew