Chiropractors take them as a standard procedure, to rule out pathology (such as a possible tumor or fracture) and/or to aid in determining where to adjust the spine.
As a general guideline, X-rays are recommended in the following cases:
• If the patient has sustained a significant traumatic injury, as a bone may be broken or a joint may be dislocated
• If an infection may be causing the patient’s pain
• If any significant disease is suspected, such as cancer or a possible tumor
• any type of joint disease is suspected, such as arthritis causing joint pain
• If the patient is over age 50 and has experienced any type of trauma (even a minor one)
• For most patients over 65 years of age
• Anyone who has been diagnosed with or who may be at risk for osteoporosis. The X-ray may be important to identify or rule out a possible vertebral fracture from osteoporosis.
• Any suspected spinal instability
• If the patient has had long-standing pain that has not responded to or resolved with previous health care treatment
As a general guideline, an X-ray is indicated if it is likely to inform the type of treatment recommended for the patient. In any of the above cases, an X-ray would likely provide critical information that will direct treatment protocols and/or referral options for the patient.