Curious about what goes into the process of taking your x-rays when you come to visit me? Today, we'll be talking about the whole process and how I use x-rays to analyze your spine. Let's take a look at an x-ray together and discuss some helpful information from your favorite Spanish-speaking chiropractor!
Hey, everybody! It's Dr. Bob Salamon here with Lowcountry Chiropractic. I hope you're all doing well and staying safe out there! Today, we are going to be doing something a little different with the blog! We will be discussing a set of x-rays that I recently took of a new patient - with picture examples! I want to use this blog and each image to talk about how I analyze the x-rays that I take when you visit my office and how we will begin working together on your wellness journey after I do so. These x-rays are imperative! They help me to help my patients. I feel like x-rays are extremely important in helping me find the spinal issues that need to be corrected.
The patient I will be talking about today is a painter from Honduras. Before she came and saw me a few weeks ago seeking help, she was carrying a very heavy bucket of paint and hurt her back. The symptoms she was experiencing after she hurt her back were right lower back pain, sciatica (meaning she had pain down the back of her right leg) and numbness and tingling in her toes. What I do normally, with any new patient such as this young woman, is take a detailed health history and do a chiropractic exam first, and follow these two steps by taking a set of x-rays. What's unique in our office is that we take full spine x-rays. They're 14X36 inches in size and they show the whole spine in two different views. These x-rays are very helpful for me, but very importantly they also help every patient see what's going on with the spine. I can walk them through what is causing their pain and how I am going to work on trying to alleviate these issues by pointing out exactly what's happening on their x-rays. What I am always looking for on these x-rays and what I am aiming to correct are subluxations. Subluxations are vertebrae that have misaligned and are irritating nerves and causing pain. Today, this blog is going to be a behind-the-scenes look at what I do when analyzing my patient's x-rays and how they help me! Take a moment by examining the first picture below which shows the two 14X36 x-rays that I take of my patients, and the specific one I will be discussing today!
The first x-ray that I look at is a side view of my patient, called the lateral. This x-ray helps me look at and see the curves of the body and the whole spine, and I look at the disc space between every vertebrae to see if there is any arthritis in the spine. Arthritis shows up as little spurs or hooks on the bones.As you can see, she does not have any arthritis and the disc spaces between the vertebrae look good! Look closely at this picture. I would personally like to see a little more of a curve in her lower back so it looks a little more like a C. Her back is pretty straight, as is her neck. I would also like to see more of a curve at the top of her neck, too. Even with these wants, her back looks pretty good overall!
Now, let's talk about the second x-ray called the A to P, which is the front-to-back x-ray. When I take this picture the patient is looking away from me, meaning the x-ray is looking at their back straight on. I do this because when I adjust my patients they are lying face down, and I want to mirror what I am going to see on my table when I adjust them. As you can see from the third picture here, there is a scoliosis or a curvature in the middle of her back, which is not normal. The bones in the middle of her back should be straight and lined up perfectly with the rest of the spine. When you look closer at the 4th picture, you can see that her pelvis on the left side is much higher than the right side!
From the A to P view, I see that one of the main problems is that the curvature in her spine is a compensation for what's going on in her lumbo-pelvic area. Also, in addition to the scoliosis in the middle of her back, her vertebrae are rotated to the left. Why has this happened? It's being caused by a problem in the sacrum, which has rotated to the right and is causing the vertebrae to rotate to the left. The scoliosis in her back is irritating the nerves that are coming out between the vertebrae. Finally, please look at picture number 5. You will see the ilium (the largest part of the pelvis) is 205 mm in length on the left-hand side and only 200 mm on the right side. This means the right ilium has rotated forward and the left has rotated backward!
Once I had taken these x-rays and analyzed them, the trouble areas are where I started with my patient's treatment, which I corrected with what I was feeling in her spine as I adjusted her. Low and behold, after this specific treatment based on my findings, she is doing so much better! After about three treatments she came in and shared with me that she is feeling great, her pain is gone, and she is back to working normally! I might not have straightened out her back and her scoliosis but I removed enough pressure on her nerves to make a difference. Now that she has come in to see me to correct her issues, her new goal needs to be maintaining her adjustment. The best way to do this is to continue coming back to me for consistent maintenance and wellness care. If she doesn't, there is a potential that the problem she experienced could come back. Think about it this way; it only takes the weight of a dime on your nerves to affect them. You, or in this case my new patient, don't need to be perfectly straightened out to get the excellent results you need and deserve!
I hope today's blog has helped and has been informative! I hope you enjoyed an inside look at how I, as a chiropractor, use x-rays to help me treat my patients. X-rays are just another tool in a chiropractor's toolbox along with understanding their patient's health history and performing a consultation and exam to understand what our patients are going through. For me, it is imperative that I get a good set of x-rays so that I can give the best care to my patients. If your spine looks like the one we've been discussing today, or if you want to know what your spine looks like, please look us up! Send us an email or give us a call, and we'll get you in here and get started on your wellness journey! Until next time, I'm Dr. Bob Salamon and I've got your back covered! Take care!
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