Do Chiropractors Take X-rays? Everything You Need to Know About Chiropractic Imaging

August 9, 2022

In order to get the best results from your chiropractic visit, it’s important to know exactly what’s involved. For most patients, a physical examination is all that is needed to make a diagnosis.

While x-rays are not always necessary, sometimes they can provide valuable information that the chiropractor uses to more accurately diagnose your condition and design an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Here’s what you need to know about whether your chiropractor takes x-rays and when it makes sense to have them taken.

What Is Chiropractic Imaging?

Chiropractic imaging is the use of x-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tools to assess the health of the spine and nervous system. Chiropractors use this information to develop a treatment plan that can help relieve pain and improve function.  The most common types of images are x-rays, which can reveal bone abnormalities or degeneration in the spine, and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which produce detailed pictures of soft tissues such as discs, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursae.

How Does CBCT Differ from these two methods?

CBCT (computed tomography) uses an x-ray tube with many small detectors to create cross-sectional images of the upper cervical. Because it uses less radiation than traditional CT scans, it’s safer for children and adults who may be more sensitive to radiation exposure. It also produces 3D data that can show curvature changes in the spine over time.

Why Would a Chiropractor Need a CBCT Scan of your Neck and Head?

There is an intricate relationship between the alignment of the top two bones in the neck and the function of the brain and spinal cord. A CBCT scan is a three-dimensional X-ray of your neck and head. It helps chiropractors see the alignment of your spine and bones in your neck and head. This information helps them plan your treatment.

An upper cervical subluxation can create so much harm to the function of your nervous system and therefore your health. Just as a proper correction of that subluxation can do so much good, an improper force introduced can do as much harm.

To make the most effective correction, it is vital to know the shape of each of the joints being corrected. That's why many chiropractors are using this technology more often now when they assess their patients.

How Do Chiropractors Get a CBCT Scan?

CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) is a type of medical imaging that uses special x-ray equipment to create three-dimensional images of the inside of the body. CBCT scans are often used to diagnose problems with the spine, teeth, and other bones. Chiropractors may refer patients to a dental imaging center for an upper cervical CBCT scan in order to get a more detailed look at the bones in the neck and head. The upper cervical CBCT scans we perform at Reveal Diagnostics allows chiropractors to examine the atlas, axis, and as low as C5—from every angle.

Our free 3D CBCT software enables chiropractors to create cross sections and visually follow the spinal cord from the magnum foramen through each vertebra.

Reveal Diagnostics also works with a licensed DACBR (chiropractic radiologist) to interpret the cone beam CT images.

When Should I Get An Upper Cervical CBCT scan?

Some of the most common conditions  are   migraines and   other types   of headaches, vertigo, neck, and back pain, and many other conditions that interfere with nerve and blood flow at the top of the neck will commonly cause chronic symptoms.

Upper cervical CBCT scans are used to assess the bones in the upper neck, which are crucial for supporting the head. These scans are usually recommended for people who have suffered a traumatic injury to the head or neck, or who have persistent pain in these areas.

A CBCT scan will give a chiropractor a clear view of your spinal health after a car accident. Any abnormalities will be noted.

Your chiropractor will make adjustments and provide treatments to any unresolved back issues, before treatment of your current problem is administered. Your spine is important, and an x-ray will allow the doctor to see if there are any serious conditions.

Do All Chiropractors Have Access To X-ray Machines?

When it comes to chiropractic imaging, not all practitioners have x-ray machines. Some chiropractors may use independent imaging centers like Reveal Diagnostics.

The main reason for this is that x-ray machines are expensive and require special training to operate.  

To help precise diagnosis with chiropractic imaging, our Reveal Diagnostics Center in Fremont is conveniently located in the same building with an Upper Cervical chiropractic practice. 

How long does it take for me to get my Chiropractic CBCT results?

Reveal Diagnostic Centers understand that when it comes to your health, you want answers fast. That's why we offer same-day results with an additional expedited delivery service of 1.5-4 hours for our CBCT scans. We want to make sure you get the care and treatment you need as soon as possible. 

Resources From Our Blog

Is an X-Ray Before or After a Chiropractor Visit Necessary?
When Your Dentist May Recommend Dental Cone Beam CT
How to Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea (And How a CBCT Scan Can Help)
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