Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic and X-ray

Importance of Proper Positioning is Key 

Recent research reporting on the use 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, and functional impairments.

CLICK HERE to review the research

The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, shows that, when taken properly, misalignments of the pelvis can be measured on x-ray. Proper patient positioning for pelvic x-rays is considered by many to be essential to avoid image distortion and ensure accurate measurement for chiropractic analysis. While any astute practitioner would take steps to ensure accuracy of patient positioning regardless of the area being examined, errors still can and do occur. 

“X-rays have been used for many years by chiropractors to assess for pathology, misalignment, and overall bone position for an accurate representation of the anatomy of the patient” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. 

This study attempts to determine the clinical significance of positioning errors on pelvic measurements. X-ray examination is currently the only objective means of determining the relative positions of the vertebrae in a spine.  By analyzing patient spines with x-rays, doctors have objective parameters to properly diagnose, evaluate, refer to the appropriate specialist or obtain further diagnostic imaging. 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. 

Radiography reveals the true condition and alignment of the spine and eliminates guesswork. Contemporary approaches to chiropractic care, guided by accurate imaging, have demonstrated superiority over more primitive evaluations. The problem unfortunately, according to the researchers, is that there are misguided activists who advocate eliminating spine x-rays despite the fact that the radiation dose employed for an x-ray is very low. 

To remedy spine-related problems, assessments of X-ray images are essential to determine the health of the spine and postural parameters. Chiropractic realignment of the structure of the spine can address a wide range of pain, muscle weakness, and functional impairments. 

X-rays have long been used by chiropractors to assess for pathology and static bone position. The value of radiographs beyond pathology is predicated on the radiographs taken being an accurate representation of the patient’s anatomy, which can be altered by magnification and distortion errors that can occur in x-ray positioning. This study aimed to assess the effects of lateral malpositioning on pelvic listings when Gonstead pelvic line analysis is used for measurement. The information gained from this study could help clinicians determine how errors in lateral positioning may factor into their pelvic listings. 

Chiropractic procedures aimed at the realignment of the structure of the spine can address a wide range of health concerns. Radiographic imaging is necessary to deliver acceptable patient care in the practice of contemporary chiropractic care of the spine. Imaging guidelines should be updated to reflect current radiobiology and scientific evidence.

Contact Information: 

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