Why X-Rays Help your Chiropractic Care

Read about why x-rays at Shephard Chiropractic Clinic in Portland, OR can help you reach your health and treatment goals for your bone, joint, or spinal condition.

If you’re reading this, there’s a strong likelihood that you already know: chiropractic care addresses conditions and pain from the inside out. Your back or neck pain could be something simple, or it could be something more complicated. An x-ray will help reveal if it’s due to a bone fracture, a dislocated joint, scoliosis, arthritis, or if it’s a deeper underlying structural problem, such as leg length discrepancy.


X-rays help the chiropractor see the potential cause of your pain, or determine the conditions you may be dealing with. When the frame of your body, your spine, is in alignment, the rest of your body can function normally. The x-ray gives the chiropractor an inside look to restoring your mobility and your movement, through prescribing the proper treatment for you.


The X-Ray Experience

Beyond the initial physical exam, another diagnostic tool that chiropractors use is x-rays. Shephard Clinic’s in-house digital x-ray is taken at the patient’s first appointment prior to any treatment or adjustments. The x-ray takes just a moment to capture. At your second appointment, the doctor gives the patient a full picture of the treatment needs, and which type of plan the patient will need to follow in order to get back to their daily activities and normal life. Most of our patients require an x-ray, and insurance typically covers x-ray imaging.


Our x-ray machine will captures your spine and neck structure. On the x-ray, one should see the proper curvature of the spine, and determine whether the spinal structure is stable and sound. Again, the x-ray is a diagnostic tool, so it can also indicate abnormalities or conditions that will inform your distinctly tailored treatment plan. Treatment plans in tandem with x-rays are essential for the chiropractor to know where, why and how to treat you. Your back or neck pain could be something simple, or it could be complex–either way, an x-ray will help reveal things, and rule things out.


There are three distinct purposes of x-ray use in a chiropractic office:

X-rays help rule out pathologies.

If you recently injured yourself: from a fall; while playing sports; or while in a motor vehicle accident, and suspect you may have a bone fracture, the x-ray will reveal the exact location of the injury and the chiropractor can then determine the source of your pain.

These three types of accidents (falls, sports, auto accidents) can also dislocate joints. A dislocated joint isn’t always the result of an accident–if muscles and tendons around the joint are weakened, the joint may become misaligned with simple, normal activity. The x-ray will be able to show and confirm these dislocated joints, whether from daily life, or from a traumatic accident. When you have a fracture or joint dislocation, your chiropractic care will focus on realignment, and rebuilding the strength of the surrounding muscles and tendons to help prevent future subluxations in the same location.


Spinal tumors or lesions may also show up on the x-ray image, which helps the doctor know which treatment path to take you down–some pathologies may indicate that no treatment should be done at all, to better preserve the patient’s health.


X-rays can show structural changes or degenerative conditions.

With scoliosis (an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine) or kyphosis (an excessive outward curvature of the spine, leading to a hunched back), the chiropractor can determine what treatment may be needed, whether it is physical therapy, a back brace, and/or a significant series of exercises to help improve your posture over a period of time.


Arthritis can be indicated on x-rays from narrowing spaces between bones, where there should be cartilage. When a patient has diagnosed arthritis showing up on the x-ray, the chiropractor can determine the best next steps of your treatment, with an emphasis on pain reduction and massage therapy, to help your joints keep functioning as well as possible.


If patients have osteoporosis or osteopenia, these degenerative conditions are highly important to determine with an x-ray. A chiropractic x-ray of your neck and spine is integral to your care and your treatment plan. The chiropractors at Shephard Chiropractic Clinic must be able to treat you safely and effectively, while keeping your bone structure top of mind during any adjustments. Using gentle methods, such as the Arthrostim, is important to keeping you comfortable and helping you maintain and improve your health without jeopardizing your bone health.


X-rays can indicate underlying structural problems.

Some structural problems aren’t immediately apparent during the physical examination in your first appointment. Some others must be confirmed through an x-ray. One example is leg length discrepancy, which is highly common in our patients. When one leg is slightly longer than the others, this can appear as one hip being more elevated, which can lead to scoliosis (see section above) and significant neck and shoulder pain. A common solution is a heel lift, which makes up the difference between your leg lengths.


X-rays also give insight into the condition of the patient’s (intervertebral) discs, which are the cushions that sit between the vertebrae of your spine. If your discs have begun degenerating, this will show up on the x-ray as a thinning space between your vertebrae. If your vertebra have become dislocated, or one of your vertebrae has begun to slip over the one below it (spondylolisthesis), the x-ray will also show this, and allow the chiropractor to help you improve your posture and spinal function through physical therapy, gentle adjustments, and given exercises.

X-rays are the inner view to your neck and spine, where chiropractors focus on function and movement and the cause of your condition–not just symptoms. With x-rays, Shephard Chiropractic Clinic is able to treat you safely and effectively, with the full picture of your condition, whether externally indicated from the physical exam, or internally shown on your digital x-ray.


Questions about our digital x-ray? Contact us at 503.223.3826

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