Ask the Chiropractor- Why does the Chiropractor take x-rays? Many people call us and want to know if they need to have x-rays. There are several reason why our cliic usually takes x-rays. Dr Hulsebus explains why we do it in this weeks podcast. #healthy815 #ICAchiropractor
- Hello, I'm Dr. Brant Hulsebus, chiropractor, and I'm coming at you today with another edition of Ask the Chiropractor. Ask the Chiropractor is our podcast where we go on and answer questions that are commonly asked to a chiropractor by a potential patient or an existing patient. Often, you'll see a segment about chiropractic on the local news or some other type of media, and after they finish the segment they will tell you, before you go to the chiropractor, make sure you check with your family physician first. And I'm the first to tell you that your family physician does not study chiropractic or understand chiropractic. If you have a question about chiropractic, I always recommend you ask the chiropractor, and that's what we're here today doing. So I come on here, whenever a patient asks me a question, I write it down, and every week we do Ask the Chiropractor. Now, this is a question this week that we get asked about on the telephone. The question we get asked a lot on the telephone is, "Before I come in, does the chiropractor have to take x-rays," or, "Will the chiropractor be taking x-rays on my spine?" Or maybe, "Why does the chiropractor take x-rays on my spine?" Well, let me answer that for you real easy. Number one reason the chiropractor takes x-rays of your spine, bar none, is patient safety. Is safe for us to go ahead and give you chiropractic care? Well, I'm the team chiropractor for the Rockford Ice Hogs, the hockey team, and every year, we x-ray the players. And every once in a while, almost two or three players each year, we find an indication on their spine that we need to adjust them differently. Now, these are professional hockey players, very strong young athletes. You wouldn't think that you would have to worry too much about whether or not they can handle a chiropractic adjustment because they're out on the ice, getting hit, and skating full speed and doing what professional hockey players do. However, when we x-ray them, every once in a while, we'll find an issue or a situation where we need to change the typical care that we would normally give to accommodate their spine. Now, let me give you an example of one of these situations. There's a condition in chiropractic called spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis is when the vertebrae itself goes forward. So if you look at the spine from the side, you would notice it slid forward. Now, there is no test, orthopedic test or chiropractic exam, that you can do prior to determine if a patient has that. Now, if I was to lay you down on the table and I did not take x-rays, and you had this condition where the vertebra slips forward, and I applied a pressure on it from the back, driving you forward, I would severely aggravate your condition, and I could make you much worse. That is a great reason alone to take an x-ray of somebody. We find this in people all the time. We even find these on people with no complaints in that area. They say, "My lower back doesn't bother me. What do you mean I have this thing in my lower back?" So there's is no way for us to know it's there until we take an x-ray. Also, on our x-rays, over the years, we have found different things too that are not even chiropractic related that we've had to refer 'em out to maybe an oncologist or other type of specialty healthcare provider because we found something in their x-ray that is very dangerous to their health. So as a chiropractor, the number one reason we take your x-ray is for your safety, to make sure it's okay to go ahead and proceed with the chiropractic care. That's by far the number one reason. Number two is we look to see if there's any arthritis or the overall health of the spine. If we find some degenerative arthritis, we'll see bony spurs growing out on the side of the vertebra. Now, what I know about arthritis is that this area's what we call hyper inflammatory, meaning that it doesn't take a lot to make them mad because of the arthritic growth. So when we see degenerative arthritis in that area, we will alter our technique. Again, why do we take x-rays? We look for degenerative arthritis. If we see the degenerative arthritis, we can alter our technique to make sure the adjustment for you is not only more comfortable but also essentially more effective because if you're coming in for lower back pain and we were to see inflammation in your lower back and we were to go in there and do an aggressive adjustment, as if you didn't have arthritis, then if we did that adjustment and you do have arthritis, your lower back pain's not gonna feel better. Your lower back pain's gonna get more excited. And then you came in, maybe your pain was a six out of 10, and now you're an eight out of 10 because the arthritis was unknown to us. This is why we take the x-rays. Another reason we take the x-rays is it helps give us a better clue what it's gonna take to help get you better. It helps us determine what areas need to be adjusted more, what areas need to be adjusted less. Often, we find that the area that hurts the most maybe isn't the spot that's the most misaligned. Maybe it's a spot that's just feeling the torque and the pulling from the misalignment above it. And so if we only focus on where it hurt, we might not get the results that we wanna get and might not get you better as fast as we wanna get you. Also, when we look at your spine, we can come up with different techniques on how to adjust your spine that would be better for you. When we went through chiropractic school over here at Palmer College of Chiropractic, we learned several different ways how to adjust different parts of your spine based on what your spine presents. Without the x-rays, it's really challenging for us to know exactly which chiropractic methods we should use and what techniques we should use. So why does a chiropractic x-ray on your spine when you come in? Number one is safety. Number two is it gives us a better idea of which type of technique we should use. Should we use this technique or that technique based on degenerative arthritis? Next thing we look at is your posture on your x-rays. Your x-rays do show us your posture. So if we know your posture, we can give you a better estimate of the kind of care you're gonna need. 'Cause if you have really good posture with a little misalignment, the frequency of care is much lower than if you have bad posture and the same misalignment because the posture being bad works against us. And when we take our x-rays at a chiropractic clinic, you're always standing up so we can evaluate your posture also. So now, we have the health of your spine, the posture of your spine, whether or not you have arthritis, and whether or not it's safe for you to get chiropractic care. And then the very last reason we take your x-ray, as far as, like, the overall main importance of why we take the x-rays, is it helps us determine our technique when we adjust you. Should I use clockwise torque, counterclockwise torque? Should I grab this spot in the vertebrae or this spot in the vertebrae, based on how you rotate and change? So it helps me also not only determine how much care you need, but also the best way to give you care based on your x-rays. And although exams are helpful and exams help us out, they'll never give us the same knowledge as an x-ray will. We often meet chiropractic patients that come to us from other clinics that don't x-ray, and they often complain about they never quite get the relief and the results that they hope for. And so by having the x-rays, we'll change the way we adjust them, and they'll say, "Oh, that was very different," and then they start getting results. So myself, I would never go to a chiropractor that didn't take x-rays. I would never go to orthopedic surgeon who doesn't x-ray. I would never go to a dentist who doesn't x-ray. I would never go have a surgery or see a general practitioner who doesn't use imaging. It's one of our best tools we have, not only in chiropractic, but all healthcare. Often, we have to refer people to the orthopedic surgeon because they have extra pains. They don't even get to see the orthopedic surgeon before they have an x-ray. So to come to a chiropractic clinic and be surprised they're taking your x-ray, I'm not sure where that comes from because it's just standard healthcare. Not chiropractic care, just standard healthcare. Just about anywhere you go, imaging will be a major part of your healthcare determination. And as we create new and exciting tools and diagnosing equipment, I look forward to using those too 'cause in chiropractic, we try to use the science to give you the best answers and the best solutions. So I hope I answered your question on why we take your x-rays. One, we don't wanna hurt you. Number two, we wanna get you better as fast as we can. Number three, we wanna come up with the best care plan and the best way to take care of you. And lastly, we'd like to evaluate your posture, so we can maybe introduce some posture stuff along the way to make your spine heal better, but more importantly, make sure that you can hold your adjustment and go longer without having to see us, based on what we found in your x-rays and your examination. So again, I'm Dr. Brant Hulsebus. This is another addition of Ask the Chiropractor. If you have a question about chiropractic, feel free to leave a message below. Visit us at our website at rockforddc.com, R-O-C-K-F-O-R-D-D-C.com. Leave us a message there. And maybe next time you watch this, we'll be answering your question. Other than that, stay healthy, stay strong. Remember if you have a question about chiropractic, there's no better person to ask than a chiropractor. Thank you very much.