Why Get an X-ray for Back Pain?

In most cases, an X-ray is not necessary before the treatment of uncomplicated back pain. However, there may be an underlying issue requiring a precise diagnosis if the patient is not responding to treatment. 


Obtaining an accurate diagnosis allows the specialist to come up with a treatment that is specifically tailored to the problem. An X-ray allows the chiropractor to inspect any issues that may be affecting the bones in the back. There are good reasons why you may need an X-ray for your back pain.


Diagnostic Process


A clinical or medical diagnosis can identify the underlying cause of back pain. Professionals review the patients’ medical history to find out more about the symptoms and origin of the pain. 


A review of the medical history will also include any previous treatments. A physical examination will then be performed. A comprehensive exam will include visual inspection, hands-on inspection, neurological examination, testing range of motion, and segmental examination.


The Imaging Process


There are several imaging tests that doctors use to determine the cause of a patient’s back pain. The imaging tests include X-rays, Ultrasound, MRI scan, CT scan, or bone scan. The different tests provide different types of images that allow the specialists to make an accurate diagnosis. Making the right diagnosis is vital for choosing the best treatment method. The specialist may decide to take an X-ray to determine the cause of your back pain.


Why Get an X-ray


X-rays use measured amounts of radiation to see tissues, organs, and bones in the body. When focused in the back region, an X-ray can detect injuries, abnormalities, or bone diseases. An X-ray can help the specialist determine the cause of the back pain. The pain may be a result of injury, infection, disease, or other conditions. 


Using the X-ray, specialists can investigate birth defects, dislocations, bone spurs, herniated discs, or injury to the lower spine. The imaging can also detect pinched nerves, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other issues.


Preparing for an X-ray


X-rays are standard treatment procedures that do not require much preparation. It is, however, important to know that X-rays are not recommended for pregnant women. Make sure to inform the doctor if you are pregnant. 


Before the X-ray, you will need to remove any jewelry and other metallic items you may have. Inform the specialist if you have any metallic implants in your body. Metal can make X-ray images difficult to read. You will change into a hospital gown to prevent zippers or buttons on your clothes from affecting the X-ray. 


The X-ray Procedure


X-rays are carried out in radiology clinics that specialize in diagnostic procedures. A radiologist or an X-ray technician will perform the procedure. After helping you settle in the proper position, the technician will take several images. You may need to lie in several positions, including on your side, back, and stomach. 


Over your back, the radiologist will move a camera attached to a steel arm to capture images of the spine. Some images might be taken in the standing position as you stand before a special plate containing X-ray sensors or film. A chiropractor will use the results of your X-ray to determine the best treatment plan for your back pain.


For more information on X-rays for back pain, visit Charleston Chiropractic Associates at our office in Charleston, South Carolina. You can also call (843) 225-4357 to book an appointment today.

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