Why a Chiropractor Would Recommend Getting an X-Ray before Treatment

When visiting the office of New Jersey chiropractor for the first time, you would be required to complete a health questionnaire to provide some information about yourself and your condition. You can also expect a chiropractor to ask specific questions to determine if you would benefit from chiropractic or physical therapy. In some cases, the doctor may take X-rays to get a more complete picture of your condition, rule out more serious problems, and develop the most effective treatment approach.


When is an X-ray Needed?

While an X-ray can provide more detailed information about a patient’s condition, not everyone needs to undergo such a procedure. As a general rule, an X-ray is required only if it will provide critical information needed to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol and/or referral options for the patient. Thus, X-rays are recommended in any of the following cases.


  • The patient has sustained a traumatic injury and may have sustained a broken bone or dislocated joint.
  • In ruling out the possibility that an infection, a joint disease (such as arthritis) or any serious disease (such as cancer or a tumor) is causing the problem.
  • The patient is over age 50 and has experienced any type of trauma. In such cases, an X-ray may be required even if the patient only suffered minor trauma. Most patients over age 65 may likewise require an X-ray prior to treatment.
  • The patient shows indications that he or she has spinal instability.
  • The patient is experiencing long-standing pain and has not responded well to prior treatments.

However, an X-ray is not needed for the chiropractic treatment of muscoloskeletal lower back pain in patients under age 65 and in identifying problems involving the soft tissues. An X-ray is also not required for exploratory purposes and should not, in any case, be used for pregnant women.