It’s a reasonable question to ask and one that we are happy to address. In many areas of health care (dentistry, orthopedics, etc.) imaging is common and routine. Imaging is an integral part of diagnosing a problem and that without them the dentist or orthopedic surgeon would essentially be guessing. This may lead to the quality and safety of the procedure being compromised.
However, when it comes to chiropractic, the use of imaging varies. In fact, there are many chiropractors that don’t take x-rays as a standard practice. When a patient enters our office and discovers that Precision Structural Radiographs (x-rays) are a standard practice for the majority of cases, they may have a few questions.
How Much Radiation?
What many people don’t know is that most humans will receive more exposure to x-rays in their lifetime simply by being outside then they ever will from getting x-rays at a doctors office. X-rays are another form of radiant energy similar to light or radio waves, however x-rays have the ability to penetrate through the body. They are all around us in the form of background radiation that occurs in nature. This is found most commonly from Radon and other radionuclides we eat, drink, or breathe but also from radiation in the soil/rocks and cosmic radiation. We are almost constantly exposed at some level. This level of exposure is often measured in millisieverts (mSv).
The damage caused by x-rays is like a wound in the sense that, with time, the body can fully heal and recover. A large dose of radiation from a CT scan, for example can be tolerated as long as it’s not too frequent. A small dose of x-rays can be tolerated on a more frequent basis. To put things in perspective, a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis will expose a person to 10 mSv, the same as 3 years of natural background radiation.
It has been estimated that individuals in the United States receive about 6.2 mSv on a yearly basis from all sources of radiation. The Precision Digital Structural Imaging of the spine that we do provides us with the most information with the least amount of exposure (~2.0 mSv). This means you will be exposed to more radiation just from walking outside than you ever will from getting structural imaging in our office.
We TEST and Don’t Guess with YOUR Health
Much of the reason we take imaging comes from our focus – NeuroStructural Correction. In other words we evaluate the structure of the spine and how that influences the function of your body’s most important system, your brain and nervous system. It’s important that we have a blueprint of the spine and know as much as possible about it before we begin to make specific corrections to it. We only want to address the area(s) of the spine that need to be. Precision Structural Radiographs enable us to visualize the entire structure of your spine, which is extremely helpful when evaluating, joint and disc integrity, and structural shifts. X-rays also help us in ruling out any pathologies, or recent fractures that may be present or contributing to the your condition. You might be surprised how many secondary issues we have uncovered unrelated to a patients primary complaint, simply because we obtained imaging.
By correcting these structural shifts and restoring the body’s foundation closer to normal allows the nervous system to function at it’s best. When the nervous system isn’t functioning well, it can lead to a variety of secondary issues (symptoms) like breathing problems, migraines, lowered immune function, digestive issues, and even pain. These symptoms are often related to where structural shifts or abnormalities are occurring in the spine.
We often talk about how the spine is like the foundation of a house. In this instance, would you want someone to mess around with your house’s foundation if they weren’t taking extremely precise measurements? We know we wouldn’t. We would rather test than guess with the health of your spine and nervous system.
While our unique focus is not the right fit for everyone, these precise images help us to provide the highest quality of care that we can possibly provide. Just like most of you would protect your house at any cost, we protect your health with the same amount of conviction.