Do Chiropractors Do X-rays As Part of Diagnosis? 

this picture is showing fracture of distal shaft of femur bone. this is how chiropractors diagnose by doing x-ray

When we think of chiropractic care, we often imagine expert hands skillfully easing back into alignment with assured, therapeutic motions. It’s a practice steeped in the touch and feel of anatomy, which may lead many to wonder, do chiropractors do X-rays to see beneath the surface of it all? 

The truth is, just like the layers of our spine cover the nerve centers they protect, chiropractic diagnosis sometimes requires a deeper look within. 

Whether it’s to unveil the hidden complexities of a spinal condition or to tailor a treatment plan that’s as unique as the patients themselves, x-rays can play a critical role in chiropractic diagnostics. 

Join us as we explore the reasons and circumstances under which a chiropractor may call upon this powerful imaging tool to help chart the course for optimal spinal health.

The Role of X-Rays in Chiropractic Diagnosis

X-rays are a picture that lets chiropractors see your bones. This helps them understand what’s wrong and how to help them feel better.

Just like a map helps you find where you’re going, x-rays help the chiropractor plan your treatment.

  • Preventing Further Injury

By examining X-ray images, chiropractors can spot issues that could become worse if left untreated. This can help in preventing new injuries or stopping current ones from becoming more serious.

  • Quick Diagnosis

X-rays can speed up the diagnosis process, allowing chiropractors to see exactly what’s wrong without having to guess. This means patients can get treatment faster, which can lead to quicker healing.

  • Patient Assurance

Patients are often reassured when they can see the evidence of their condition on an x-ray. It helps them understand the treatment plan and why certain therapies are being recommended.

  • Legal and Insurance Documentation

X-ray images serve as important documentation that may be required for insurance claims or in legal situations. They provide proof of the patient’s condition and are crucial for record-keeping.

Types of Conditions Where an X-Ray is Beneficial

symptoms of scoliosis or curved spine

Sometimes, a chiropractor needs to use X-rays to see what’s going on with your bones. X-rays are really helpful when you have certain health problems.

They let the chiropractor see the bones in your spine and other places, too.

Let’s look at what kinds of problems might make your chiropractor use X-rays to help you get better.

  • Bone Breaks: If you hurt yourself badly and there’s a chance you broke a bone, an x-ray can show if it’s really broken and how bad it is.
  • Arthritis: This is when your joints hurt because they are wearing out. An x-ray can show how much wear there is.
  • Spine Shape Problems: Sometimes, a person’s back isn’t straight like it should be. We call this scoliosis. X-rays can show if it is a curved spine.
  • Disc Issues: The cushions between the bones in your back can get hurt or worn out, and X-rays help to see this.
  • Infections or Tumors: If there is an infection in the bones or if there is a lump that shouldn’t be there, an X-ray can spot these.
  • Joint Dislocation: If a bone in a joint moves out of its normal place, an X-ray will show it’s not in the right spot. Commonly, hip and shoulder dislocations occur in old age.
  • Post-operative: If you had surgery to fix your bones, x-rays help the doctor to check if everything is staying in the right place.

Why Do Chiropractors Do X-Rays?

Chiropractors often use X-rays to get a very good look at your bones. With these pictures, they can see problems that are not easy to find just by looking at how you stand or move.

These X-rays help them understand your bones better so they can figure out the best way to make you feel good again.

Let’s find out more about why chiropractors might take X-rays before they start treating you. 

Figuring Out the Underlying Issue

Chiropractors do X-rays to really understand what’s going on inside your body. They can look at the picture and see the shape and condition of your bones. This helps them know exactly what the problem is so they can figure out the best way to help you feel better.

Planning the Right Treatment

X-rays help the chiropractor make a plan for how to treat your problems. They can see if your bones are in the right place or if there’s something else they need to work on. This way, they can decide the best way to fix it.

Making Sure Everything is Safe

Safety is super important when a chiropractor is treating you. They use X-rays to make sure they don’t do anything that could hurt you more. The X-rays show them exactly where they need to be careful.

Checking on Progress

After some time, the chiropractor might do x-rays again to see how well the treatment is working. They can look at the new pictures and see if your bones are getting better and if they are back in the right place.

Sharing with Other Doctors

Sometimes, your chiropractor needs to share your X-rays with other doctors. This can help if you need more help from different kinds of doctors. The X-rays let the new doctors see what’s going on without having to do more tests.

Benefits of X-rays in Chiropractic Treatments

The benefits of X-rays in chiropractic care are significant. 

Here are five key advantages:

  1. Seeing the Problem: Just like a superhero can see through walls, x-rays give chiropractors the power to look inside your body and see what’s wrong with your bones.
  2. Knowing Exactly What to Do: X-rays show chiropractors the exact problem areas so they can figure out the best way to help you get better.
  3. Helping You Heal Properly: With the help of X-rays, chiropractors can plan your treatment carefully, making sure your body heals the way it should.
  4. Tracking Your Recovery: X-rays act like a progress report. They can show how your bones are healing over time as you get treatment.
  5. Keeping Treatments Safe: X-rays help make sure that the chiropractor’s adjustments are safe and won’t cause more harm to your body.

Can Chiropractors Order X-rays?

road side accident

Chiropractors are trained professionals who can decide if you need an x-ray. They know when an X-ray is needed to look at your bones and find out what’s wrong.

When Might a Chiropractor Order an X-Ray?

  • After an Injury: If you get hurt, like in a fall or a car accident, the chiropractor might use X-rays to see if your bones are okay.
  • Before Treatment Starts: Sometimes, before they start fixing your problems, chiropractors want to see what’s inside. They order X-rays to get a clear picture of your spine and bones.
  • To Check on Your Treatment: As you get better, x-rays can help show if the treatment is working and if your bones are healing the right way.

How Do Chiropractors Use X-ray Results?

Chiropractors look at your X-rays to understand what’s wrong and to make a safe plan for your treatment. They want to make sure they can help you without causing any more harm. X-rays give them the details they need to take good care of you.

Case Study

Patient Profile

Emily is an enthusiastic ice skater, a 28-year-old female.

Presenting Complaint

Upon visiting the chiropractor, Emily reported severe pain, which was particularly acute when attempting to turn her neck. This loss of mobility and the persistent sharp pain were debilitating for Emily, impacting her daily activities and overall quality of life.


The chiropractor conducted a thorough examination, including an x-ray, which revealed a minor fracture in one of the bones in Emily’s neck. Armed with this critical information, the chiropractor devised a bespoke treatment plan that was careful not to exacerbate the injury. 

This plan focused on facilitating healing without placing undue stress on the fractured bone.


During her course of treatment, Emily underwent periodic X-rays to monitor the healing process of her neck. These follow-up scans provided both Emily and her chiropractor with the assurance that the bone was mending correctly. 

As a result of the carefully tailored treatment plan, Emily’s condition improved steadily. Eventually, the day arrived when she could turn her neck freely again without experiencing any pain, marking a significant milestone in her recovery journey.


1. Do X-rays hurt?

No, getting an X-ray doesn’t hurt at all. It’s a quick and safe way to take pictures of your bones.

2. Will I need an x-ray every time I visit the chiropractor?

Not every time. Your chiropractor will only order an x-ray if it is really needed to check your bones or track how well the treatment is working.

3. Can anyone get an x-ray, or are there some people who shouldn’t?

Most people can get an X-ray safely, but there are some special cases, like if you are pregnant, where you might need to avoid it. Your chiropractor will tell you if it’s okay for you.

4. How long does it take to get an X-ray done?

It’s really fast! It usually only takes a few minutes to get an X-ray done.

5. Does insurance cover chiropractic X-rays?

Many insurance plans do cover X-rays, but you should check with your insurance to see if they cover it where you are going.

6. What should I wear when I get an X-ray?

Wear something comfy that you can easily take off if you need to. Sometimes, you might have to wear a special gown so the X-ray can see your bones better.


Chiropractors can indeed order X-rays, and, in fact, they become crucial tools in the diagnostic process. 

These X-ray images act like a map, guiding the chiropractor through the intricacies of your body’s bone structure.

If you have ever wondered, “can chiropractors order x-rays,” the answer is a definitive Yes, and there’s a good reason why they do.

Curious to learn more about the wonders of chiropractic care?

Dive deeper into the subject and enrich your understanding by reading our other informative blogs at chiropric.

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