Do Chiropractors Really Need Your X-rays?

In short, yes. Chiropractic x-rays are used as a diagnostic tool for doctors and play a crucial role in ensuring you are provided with the proper treatment and care.

Why X-Rays Are Important:

X-rays are important because they allow the doctor to see a visual of your spinal condition. Through x-ray films the doctor can determine the health of your spine as well as if any fractures, dislocations, subluxations (a misalignment of the intricate spinal bones called vertebra), arthritis, infections, or tumors are present.

Are X-Rays Required:

Ultimately whether or not x-rays are required for a patient to receive care is up to the doctor’s discretion. Since the majority of people seeking chiropractic care are doing so because of pain it is often necessary to take x-rays in order to determine the cause of symptoms.

There are several reasons though where x-rays are not needed or required to be adjusted. For instance x-rays are usually not taken on children unless scoliosis is suspected. Also for safety reason x-rays should never be taken if you are pregnant and you are usually not required to take new films if you have had recent spinal x-rays which the doctor can review.

Do All Chiropractors Use X-Rays:

No, there are chiropractors who do not require that you have x-rays before they will adjust you. However I would be weary of a chiropractor that never uses x-rays and does not acknowledge the sometimes necessary importance of x-rays as a diagnostic tool. Just like you wouldn’t want a surgeon cutting blindly into your body, you wouldn’t want a chiropractor performing spinal manipulations or adjustments without knowing the condition of your spine.

On the other hand you don’t want a chiropractor who suggests new films be taken every few months. Like anything in life there is a balance and you should look for a chiropractor who understands when x-rays are needed and when they are not.


Now it’s time to address the elephant in the room, radiation. Many people have valid fears of x-rays because of the sometimes harmful effects radiation can cause.

Anytime you are subjected to radiation there is a slight risk which is always taken into consideration by the doctor when deciding to take x-rays. However with advances in technology, better films, and screens the x-rays of today put out significantly less radiation than those of the past.

Still have questions? We would be happy to answer them, call our office at 615-503-9900!

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