Don't Let X-ray Findings Scare You into Long Treatment Plans!

**To anyone seeking help for muscular/skeletal problems (aches, pains, injury in your joint or muscle) from a sports chiropractor, this is very important!**

Chiropractors are not created equal. 

Some chiropractors insist on performing x-rays on your first visit and will even offer you a “free initial exam and x-rays.”  X-rays should only be performed when indicated (recent injury/trauma).  In very few cases, family history of cancer that spreads to bone could result in the provider wanting to be extra cautious and taking x-rays before care.  For the most part, x-rays are not necessary and your treatment will be the same WITH or WITHOUT receiving these.  If someone is offering “free” x-rays before ever seeing you as a patient, you have to question the validity of this service. 

It breaks my heart when a patient comes in worried that their body is “out of alignment” and that their nervous system is “not functioning optimally” because they have a hip that is high on the right, some rotations in their vertebrae, and arthritis (or loss of disc space, loss of joint space, degeneration, degenerative disc disease, etc.).  Our joints work together to provide us with our optimal range of motion.  The provider should be more concerned with those joints that are not moving properly and why.  If x-rays are indicated and flexion and extension studies are compared to the neutral spine, you may be able to see joints that are not moving independently of one another (hypomobile) or moving too much in relation to the adjacent joints (hypermobile).  This is an example of abnormal joint motion and something that should be addressed.  Does that mean that you have to be concerned that you are falling apart and need to undergo a 6 month 60 visit treatment plan? Or a 3 month 24 visit treatment plan?  And if you don’t do this you are going to stop functioning and end up with a lifetime of discomfort, pain, neuropathy, disease, digestive issues, loss of function?   NOOOO.

It just isn’t that easy.  Your time is valuable and visits cost money.  Each patient is different and your clinical findings (history and physical examination) should correlate with positive x-ray findings.  Treatments should be adapted to each patient specifically and should take into account your individual needs.  Don’t be pressure into a long term treatment plan.  If you have questions or concerns, get a second opinion from another healthcare provider and voice your concerns, talk to your friends and family, do some research on your own.  You are always in control of your health!!

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