There are a number of imaging studies available for the chiropractor to utilize in the diagnosis of patients. X-rays are a valuable tool utilized by the chiropractic physician to give the doctor an inside look at what is going on with the bone structure of the entire spine and surrounding skeletal structure. From the radiographs, the doctor can tell your current spine angles as well as any potential pathologies suggesting the need for additional information from further views or an additional study, such as an MRI.
That being said, X-rays are not without their negative effects; therefore, Dr. Fair orders X-rays only when the need is demonstrated in either the history, consultation or examination. X-rays are not routinely performed on every patient without the clinical need.
When the chiropractor, or any other physician, needs a “closer” more detailed look, theMRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, would be the most likely choice. This test is not routinely performed because of it higher cost. Very few chiropractors have this type of equipment in their offices, although most have x-ray machines, and would normally have to send a patient to a diagnostic center or hospital to have it performed.
Through the years we have learned that the vast majority of patients can be safely treated without the need of undergoing either of these procedures. There are specific findings that, if present in either the history, consultation or examination, would signal the need to order the studies prior to delivering a chiropractic adjustment using a manual thrust (hands); of course, in an emergency even with such a finding present, most chiropractors have the ability to utilize some form of instrument adjusting that would allow a measure of relief to the patient until the study could be performed.