I look for, and help correct, spinal problems. Why the spine? The spine houses the spinal cord and allows branches of the nerves to get out to every organ, tissue, and cell in the body. Spinal issues can disrupt these nerves, altering the brain’s ability to communicate with, and properly control, the vital bodily functions that we take for granted every day.
There are several things I use to help find and accurately assess these spinal problems (which are called subluxations). One of the most helpful and important tools in my analysis of a patient’s spine is the x-ray. X-rays were first used as far back as 1895. The images produced by an x-ray machine allow us to see hard tissues within the body, most notably the bones.
Because most of my interest and attention is on the spine, and because the spine is such a complex structure, having the ability to see these bones is extremely helpful.
Most doctors take x-rays to rule out fractures (broken bones), tumors, malformed bones, and dislocations. I do that as well, but in our office, x-rays are used for a much greater analysis. We take our x-rays with the patient standing, allowing us to see the twenty-four spinal bones, the tailbone (sacrum), the two pelvic bones (ilium), and the skull, as they relate to each other in a weight-bearing position. This allows us to measure leg lengths, pelvic alignment, spinal curvatures, and other bony angles and positions to have a greater understanding of each patient’s spine. We are also able to see the spaces between each bone, any arthritis that may have formed within and around the joints, and how long problems have been there.
Aside from how incredible it is to be able to have a perfect image of the bony structures in the body, the advances in technology have been amazing. We used to have to take an x-ray, pull a cassette out, go into a darkroom, pull the film out, and run it through a processing machine to get the final pictures. It was a longer, messier, and expensive process. For the past several years, we have used digital x-ray equipment. This means we get the image immediately, so the patients do not have to wait to get their results. It means that there are not smelly, toxic chemicals needed to develop the films. It means there are no actual x-ray films, as it is all done on a computer. It means that we can darken or lighten a film once it’s taken, allowing us to get a perfect picture of the spine every time. And the best part… the dose of x-ray needed to get these pictures is less than half of what the old x-ray machines used, making them extremely safe. (One physicist told me that the digital machines use less than one-third the dose of x-ray.)
I had a doctor tell me once that to not know is to guess, and guessing means risk. To see is to know, and knowing eliminates risk. What I love about having x-rays is that I have complete certainty about the spine before ever working on it. This allows me to be more specific with my care, avoid any mistakes, see things that might require another medical specialist or prevent me from being able to take care of a patient in our office, and allows me to get the absolute best results possible.
I have to say that patients are very impressed, and are much more comfortable, once they see their x-rays, get a complete explanation of what the x-rays show, and understand how the care we provide in our office will help them.
I can take care of patients and do a great job without x-rays, but why would I not use such a valuable, useful, and helpful tool? We invest in the latest and greatest technologies to ensure that the care we provide is the most precise, the safest, and the most effective. There’s a reason our results are better… and having x-rays is one tool that I am very grateful to have in my daily practice.
I would encourage you to have a detailed spinal exam, and get an x-ray if needed, to see what your spine really looks like. Patients are often surprised by what they see. And much like a cavity in your tooth, spinal problems are often painless and silent for a long time without you ever knowing they are there. And again, like a cavity, by the time you know there is a problem, it’s likely been brewing for some time.
What’s your spine look like? Is there arthritis? Do you have degenerating discs? Is one leg shorter than the other? Do you have any malformed or irregular spinal bones? Are some of your ongoing health problems due to spinal issues affecting your nerves? I’d suggest finding out sooner than later. You’ve got lots to gain, and nothing to lose, by having a detailed spinal exam, with an x-ray. We’d be happy to do that in our office for you, or recommend someone near you if you do not live near our office. Get checked today!