X-Ray Imaging is Essential for Contemporary Chiropractic and Manual Therapy Spinal Rehabilitation: Radiography Increases Benefits and Reduces Risks

Dose Response. 2018 Jun 19;16(2):1559325818781437. doi: 10.1177/1559325818781437. eCollection 2018 Apr-Jun.


To remedy spine-related problems, assessments of X-ray images are essential to determine the spine and postural parameters. Chiropractic/manual therapy realignment of the structure of the spine can address a wide range of pain, muscle weakness, and functional impairments. Alternate methods to assess such spine problems are often indirect and do not reveal the root cause and could result in a significant misdiagnosis, leading to inappropriate treatment and harmful consequences for the patient. Radiography reveals the true condition and alignment of the spine; it eliminates guesswork. Contemporary approaches to spinal rehabilitation, guided by accurate imaging, have demonstrated superiority over primitive treatments. Unfortunately, there are well-meaning but misguided activists who advocate elimination or minimization of exposures in spine radiography. The radiation dose employed for a plain radiograph is very low, about 100 times below the threshold dose for harmful effects. Rather than increasing risk, such exposures would likely stimulate the patient's own protection systems and result in beneficial health effects. Spine care guidelines need to be revised to reflect the potential benefits of modern treatments and the lack of health risks from low X-ray doses. This would encourage routine use of radiography in manual spine therapy, which differs from common pharmacologic pain relief practice.

Keywords: X-ray; chiropractic; radiation exposure; routine radiography; spine rehabilitation.