At the core of chiropractic medicine is the belief that wellness and health are possible when the body is given the proper tools. Focusing on the spine, chiropractors realign joints and muscles that have become misaligned using alternative treatments to heal the body without medication or invasive surgery.
Over the last two decades, it has become increasingly clear that digital technology can help with these goals. Using chiropractic x-rays, ultrasound imaging, and digital tools such as MRI’s and CAT scans chiropractors can focus on evidence-based diagnoses and treatments. This promotes a speedier path to recovery, is more cost efficient for the patient, and helps ensure proper care.
Imaging technology can improve patient outcomes by allowing better precision in diagnosing and treating patients. Using diagnostic images, a chiropractor can visualize exactly what is causing a patient’s symptoms. It is now simpler than ever to identify a rib out of place, a herniated disc, or a misaligned joint. Imaging can be used to determine the cause of back or neck pain, including degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and spinal stenosis.
With confirmation of diagnosis, chiropractors can offer the care needed to treat the root problem.
Emerging Trends for Chiropractic Use of Diagnostic Imaging
The Move to Digital
In years past, chiropractors used radiology film in diagnostic imaging. It was often hard to read, and almost impossible to adjust. With the advent of digital imaging, chiropractors can easily take images, read them, and adjust them as needed, or send them to a professional radiologist for interpretation.
Digital imaging benefits the patient in multiple ways.
- Less radiation exposure due to repeated tests because of poor image quality
- Faster diagnosis
- More accurate treatment plans
As diagnostic imaging gained popularity in chiropractic medicine, standards of practice were put in place to ensure the highest level of care would be achieved. Because of this effort, chiropractors receive intensive training in the interpretation of a chiropractic x-ray.
However, it is becoming popular to enlist the help of specialists to read x-rays and diagnose patients, especially with questionable findings on the x-ray or in legal cases such as auto accidents.
Extensive Training in Diagnostic Imaging
Due to the guidelines established to form a standard of care in chiropractic diagnostic imaging, chiropractors today undergo extensive training. This training is in addition to their normal chiropractic medical education.
Routine training includes instruction on x-rays for both bone and soft tissue, pathology, MRI, CT scans, and ultrasound. The training is ongoing to ensure chiropractors are kept up-to-date on the latest practices in diagnostic imaging.
In the ever-changing world of medical practice, it is vital to keep abreast of changing trends and emerging options for improved healthcare.
Although some chiropractors refer patients to imaging centers, most offer in-house digital x-rays on the initial visit to help quickly diagnose and treat a problem. If necessary, an image can be sent via an online portal to a radiologist for further interpretation, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best care possible.