Is an X-Ray Before or After a Chiropractor Visit Necessary?

September 9, 2022

Is an X-Ray Before or After a Chiropractor Visit Necessary? Though some patients may have an X-ray before coming in to see their chiropractor, it’s not necessary, according to the American Chiropractic Association. 

They recommend that you let your chiropractor conduct an exam first before getting an X-ray, as it can help determine whether there aren’t any problems that could be addressed during the appointment without an x-ray.

X-rays don’t hurt, but they can sometimes cause anxiety in patients who are unfamiliar with them, so it’s important to know what to expect before your appointment starts. Here’s what you need to know about x-rays before and after a chiropractor visit.

Benefits of using x-rays in Chiropractic Treatments

If you've injured your back before, had surgery on it, or have another condition like scoliosis, it's always a good idea to ask your chiropractor if they need to take an x-ray. 

It is recommended that patients undergo x-rays before receiving care to ensure proper diagnosis. The presence of certain conditions, such as scoliosis, requires x-rays before treatment as well as after treatment because continued therapy may affect the condition's progression.

Because chiropractic adjustments produce gradual results, it is often difficult for patients to discern their progress unless they have undergone x-rays at least twice; once before therapy and once following completion of their course of care. A pre and post exam x-ray can also help chiropractors review your progress during your course of treatment.

Why It's Recommended To Have An X-Ray Before A Chiropractor Visit?

When it comes to the chiropractic x-ray, some patients may wonder if it is necessary for them to get one before visiting their doctor. The answer to this question really varies from person to person, because each patient has their own circumstances. In many cases, doctors will recommend that their patients receive an x-ray before being seen for the first time. 

One of the reasons for this is because seeing the previous state of your spine can help your doctor see what needs adjusting. Having a baseline is helpful so that you know where you are starting out with your treatment and how far along you are going to be after having a few visits.

A second reason why it might be important to have an x-ray before visiting the chiropractor is if there are any injuries or issues which might need work done by someone who specializes in those types of injuries/issues.

For example, if there were a fracture, bone breakage, malignancy, infection etc., these could be easily identified on an x-ray taken before beginning any type of therapy session and you might be referred to a specialist to receive the appropriate treatment.

When You Should Have X-Rays After A Chiropractor Visit?

An x-ray is necessary after treatment to monitor progress and to ensure that any adjustments made by the chiropractor are not just temporary but lasting in nature.  

A radiology report often accompanies these scans as well. They provide additional insight into possible problems and allow for comparisons between images taken at different times.

What Happens During a Chiropractic Treatment?

You will receive an initial consultation with our doctor who will assess the severity of your injury and what treatments might be appropriate for you. For example, if you have back pain, they may want to examine your spine and possibly recommend a short diagnostic imaging procedure like a CBCT scan of the neck and skull, a spine x-ray or MRI scan. 

The treatment itself is called chiropractic manipulation. It involves applying pressure to certain joints in order to relieve pain, discomfort, or restore range of motion. Depending on the type of injury and the degree of inflammation at that joint, this process may require one treatment session or many sessions over several weeks (or months).

In most cases, these sessions are conducted without any use of drugs or surgery.

The Benefits of Using CBCT In Chiropractic Diagnosis

CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) is an advanced type of medical imaging that uses special x-ray equipment to create three-dimensional images of the body. CBCT scans are often used to diagnose problems with the spine, head, teeth, sinuses and jaw. 

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 allow 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.

We hope this blog post has helped clarify any questions you might have had about using an x ray before or after seeing a chiropractor!

Resources From Our Blog

Do Chiropractors Take X-rays? Everything You Need to Know About Chiropractic Imaging
What Does a Cone Beam CT Scan Show
Bitewing X-rays: What They Are And Why Your Dentist Recommends Them
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