Do I Really Need X-rays?

Do I really Need to get X-rays?

nucca x-ray

One of the most common concerns for people visiting a chiropractor’s office is the potential use of ionizing radiation through spinal x-rays. Many people have concerns about the cumulative effects of radiation exposure, particularly after TV gurus like Dr. Oz discuss it on their shows. More and more people are requesting thyroid shields at the dentist’s office, while others will simply opt out completely.

The use of  X-ray in chiropractic is mixed. Some  may use it as a tool to rule out serious conditions like cancer, arthritis, and fractures, while others do not even use x-rays at all before adjusting the spine. It’s not my purpose today to talk about the pros and cons of x-ray use. Whichever method a chiropractor may use, they are most likely well trained and do a great job helping people.

When it comes to Structural Chiropractic and evaluating the mechanicsof the head and neck, I use Precision Structural Radiographs  by the NUCCA protocol. These precision x-rays help identify a specific problem called Atlas Displacement Complex. Atlas displacement can create significant problems and damage with structural shifts as small as 0.30 mm. These small displacements affect the brainstem and spinal cord and creates a disconnect between the central intelligence of the nervous system and the body as a whole. The more chronic this condition becomes the greater odds of Secondary Conditions making themselves known.

In my world, doing precision corrections without the use of these unique x-rays is the same as guessing. The difference in the life of a woman experiencing the burning facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia can come down to one half of one inch. That half inch can mean relief for the first time in years, or a relentless march down the path of a condition that’s earned the title of “Suicide Disease”.

What most people don’t understand is that a standard set of Structural Chiropractic x-rays will expose you to LESS radiation than dental x-rays and CT scans. In fact, you would get exposed to more ionizing radiation if you’ve ever flown from New York City to California, then a set of precision radiographs.

I often talk about how the spine is like the foundation of a house. In this instance, would you want someone to mess around with your house’s foundation if they weren’t taking extremely precise measurements? I know I wouldn’t.

A house collapsing under a poor foundation.

A house collapsing under a poor foundation.


A properly planned foundation requires precision measurements.

A properly planned foundation requires precision measurements.

While what I do certainly is not a right fit for everyone, these unique radiographs help me provide the highest quality of care that I can possibly provide. Just like most of you would protect your house at any cost, I protect your health with the same amount of conviction.


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