New Research Sheds Light on X-Ray Guidelines in Chiropractic

Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on X-Ray Guidelines in Chiropractic

Stresses Importance of X-Ray in Chiropractic 

Recent research reporting on the importance of x-rays in the chiropractic management of patients shows that chiropractic care aimed at the realignment of the structure of the spine can address a wide range of pain, muscle weakness, functional impairments and health concerns. The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a critical evaluation of a narrative report by Hazel Jenkins et al where they disparaged the taking of x-rays for subluxation assessment. The critical review of the Jenkins paper by Harrison and Oakley is intended to present current evidence for spinal x-ray use specifically for the chiropractic profession.

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, including Jenkins and her co-authors, within the chiropractic profession to stop chiropractors from taking necessary x-rays under the guise of evidence based practice. And as Harrison and Oakley point out, there were critical flaws in the design of the review along with misleading interpretation. Therefore, the Jenkins paper is not an accurate assessment of the literature for the use of x-rays in the practice of chiropractic.” 

According to 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.  It is important to understand the relationship between the spine and human health disorders and Harrison and Oakley describe the failed attempt to acknowledge the expansive understanding of spinopelvic biomechanical parameters and the fact that they must be assessed by routine full spine radiography.  Injury, degeneration and many factors related to daily life affect the spine and 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 patients 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 these types of problems. According to the authors of the paper, alternate methods to assess such spine problems are often indirect and do not reveal the root cause of patient problems and could result in a significant misdiagnosis, leading to inappropriate care and harmful consequences for the patient.

Contact Information: 

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