X-rays are a form of radiation, like light or radio waves, focused into a beam and directed toward your body. The beams are then absorbed onto a film producing an image once developed. X-ray beams have the ability to pass through most objects, including the human body. Doctors of Chiropractic use x-rays to see the spinal column or vertebrae of the spine. On a x-ray film bones will appear white and muscles and organs will appear shades of gray. The black area on a x-ray film are where the beam has passed only through air.
The spinal column consists of 33 bones or vertebrae. Between most of the bones are discs, which are cushions of cartilage. The discs function to absorb shock between the bones. The vertebrae form a canal on the which encases the spinal cord and serve as a protective mechanism. The four regions of the spinal column include the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and sacral spine.
Chiropractors will take x-ray images of the spine to determine if there are any gross pathologies, fractures or postural distortions. They will also determine if there is any loss of spinal curvatures, misalignments, or degeneration.
Based on the findings of the x-ray images your chiropractor will determine if your case is a chiropractic case as well as your prognosis of care.
If further evaluation is necessary your chiropractor may refer you to a imaging center to receive further testing, which may include a MRI or CT scan.