X-rays Crucial to Determining Spinal Stability

Research News Staff
X-rays Crucial to Determining Spinal Stability

Case of Man Misdiagnosed is Example of Threat to Health

Recent research reporting on a 27-year-old male who had whiplash related complaints following a car accident reveals how crucial it is for x-rays to be taken in order to determine the severity of the injury. The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a review of the literature on structural spinal shifts and the most objective and scientific methods to measure them.

CLICK HERE to review the research 

“Many people are afraid of having x-rays taken and insurance companies and the doctors they hire to cut claims stoke this unfounded fear for their own profit” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. 

McCoy continued “Making matters worse is a dangerous movement by an unscientific fringe group within the chiropractic profession to stop chiropractors from taking necessary x-rays under the guise of evidence based practice.”

But according to the experts who don’t benefit from insurance company money, x-ray examination is currently the only objective means of determining the relative positions of the vertebrae in a potentially unstable spine.  Injury to the spine can cause structural spinal shifts and these structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

These types of very serious spinal problems cannot be determined by a physical examination or by feeling the person’s back any more than a dentist can feel someone’s cheeks or gums and determine if they have cavities – you have to have an x-ray to see it.  By analyzing injured spines with x-rays, doctors have objective parameters to properly diagnose, evaluate, refer to the appropriate specialist or obtain further diagnostic imaging, if necessary, for patients that have sustained these types of injuries.  

The 27-year-old man reported on in this research study had been in a car accident four years prior and was suffering from chronic neck pain, arm pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and decreased range of spinal motion.

He had even had an MRI done of his neck - twice. But neither of the MRI's showed the serious structural spinal shifts caused by tearing of the ligaments in the neck. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

The chiropractor ordered x-rays and then measured the structural shifts in his neck and found very serious tearing of the ligaments.

Had the chiropractor adjusted this young man's neck without x-rays he may have caused serious injury to him. The researchers call for more research on using x-ray and measurements of the spine prior to undergoing care. 

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research
McCoy Press