Commonly, people living with scoliosis dread x-rays. After seeing their condition steadily deteriorate with x-ray each series, combined with the fear of too much radiation, some patients are reluctant to have more x-rays taken. But before you hesitate to undergo alternative scoliosis treatmentfor this reason, please consider the following facts about scoliosis x-rays.
According to a study published in August of 2000 in the Journal of Radiology, "Patients undergoing scoliosis radiography receive doses that are low in comparison with other types of radiographic examination." A similar study published that same month in Spine found that patients with scoliosis that received fifty or more x-rays from 1912-1965 had a risk of dying from breast cancer that was four times higher than non-x-rayed patients. At that time, there was a need for caution, since standard films were taken at 0.6 cGy (centigray). Today, films are shot with only 0.02 cGy - thirty times less than in the past. To achieve the same level of exposure, over 1500 x-rays would have to be taken on one patient. Pediatric x-rays are shot at an even lower level of magnitude.
When taking a precision x-ray - that is, one not to rule out fractures or abnormalities, but rather to measure the position of the spinal units - positioning matters more than one might think. Even a slight rotation off from center will skew the results and show an inaccurate image. For this reason, we must be very concerned about how the x-rays were taken. They must allow an objective outcome assessment. X-rays from other sources oftentimes can be unreliable if they are shot at different angles or focal distances, which prevent comparison between films. For this reason, a special device is used to assure accurate findings.
X-rays allow us to measure and quantify the results of treatment, and determine if alterations to existing treatment protocols are necessary. If you are seeking chiropractic care for your scoliosis, you should insist upon x-rays that are accurate and scientific; follow-up films should be taken every three months, and always in the exact same positioning. For successfully treating scoliosis, x-ray positioning is of paramount importance. Once proper films are taken, the correct treatment protocol can be instituted.