X-rays are the emission of electrical rays from cathode and anode tubes which host billions of directed and scattered rays. The technology was accidentally invented by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, who labeled his new discovery X-radiation, which soon after came to be known as x-rays. This discovery was made about the same time Dr. Palmer founded chiropractic—in 1895. The inventor and discoverer became friends, and Palmer’s wife, Mabel, became the first lady of radiology, or Roentgenology.
At the time of exposure, multiple sheets of cellulous and calcium would accept these rays as the “film.” Using a fluid mixture of development allows the less resistant body parts to be black and the most resistant—bones, for example—to be white. This is where the use of the terms contrast and density come in.
Most hospitals in the Peoria area are now using a new, modern x-ray in digital format. Films are produced immediately and can be quickly sent to doctors and technicians via email if further investigation is required. I am now fortunate to have video fluoroscopy, called DMX or Digital Motion X-Ray, in my office, allowing me to witness x-rays in motion with one-ninth of the exposure of original x-rays to patients. Even so, myths still remain—the major one being about the difference between chiropractic x-rays and medical x-rays.
In previous years, a commonly asked question was about our x-ray findings. These questions usually included reference to x-rays taken by hospitals or other medical facilities. Even though those films are done very well, they are usually performed under emergency situations when looking for fractures and pathologies. In emergency situations, isolating the patient and eliminating movement is necessary to ensure safe transport. When deciding whether fractures exist or not, most x-rays are taken of injured areas while patients are lying down. In most cases, the majority of the weight of gravity would not be on the spine or associated joints.
Even if emergency x-rays reveal no fractures or pathologies, painful acute conditions may persist, causing patients to seek chiropractic care. These patients most often walk into my office with gravitational forces naturally placed on their bodies. More x-rays will then be taken, as gravity and load-bearing weight could affect ligamentous-weakened joints or vertebrae. These x-rays, taken while patients stand, allow me to view and place weight or balance on the spine or articulations, which helps me to determine whether weaknesses and misalignments are present or not. After analysis, I have the ability to virtually build three-dimensional pictures from two different x-ray positions. When misalignments are present—and remember, pain and irritation are at their worst when one is upright and not in a resting position—the measurable differences can be interpreted as subluxations of the spine. I am then able to use specific hands-on adjustments to seek realignment of misaligned segments. This manual adjustment of subluxations allows normal, uninterrupted nerve flow which increases healing and well-being. IBI