Chiropractor Questions X-Ray

Can an X-ray diagnose a spinal deformity?

I have severe pain in my back and according to the doctor it looks like a minor spinal deformity. Will an X-ray be able to diagnose the problem correctly? Or could I need further testing?

33 Answers

Yes. An x-ray can diagnose a spinal deformity. I assume that “according to the doctor it looks like a minor spinal deformity,” the doctor has already taken an x-day to make that assessment; otherwise, it would be no different than you looking at a blind dog and saying, “I think it has an eye deformity.”
If the Xray is INCONCLUSIVE, and MRI would be the next step, but the Xray IS the first step i would take to determine what DEFORMITY exists. Hope i helped. As always, Got Your Back! Dr. Todd Gewant
You may need further testing but it all depends on the exam that I would do in my office if you came in. Feel free to contact me at (631)462-0917
X-rays can show spinal deformities. Depending on how severe the issue is you may need an MRI to show how bad the deformity is and if it is causing compression on any nerve roots or discs.
Most of the time an x-ray is sufficient. Sometimes we order a CT scan or MRI for a 3D image if conservative treatments fail.
Standing x-rays would be the first step to determine if you have a curvature
Absolutely. That is what a chiropractor does every day. Find a chiropractor with a good reputation that you are comfortable with and have them check you out for any issues.
Yes, the first step to finding spinal deformity is to take an X-ray. You will see structural issues on an X-ray provided the X-rays are a full series of the area of involvement. Soft tissue would require additional imaging such as CT or MRI.
X-ray is the first imaging modality to perform to diagnose bone deformity. If there is evidence that suggests underlying disc pathology contributing to your pain, an MRI may be necessary to rule out any stenosis or nerve entrapment. X-rays will show if there is scoliosis or congenital deformities.
Absolutely, if bony problem.
It will depend on the type of deformity. An X-Ray gives a 2-dimensional view of the spine, whereas a CT Scan or MRI helps to give more depth and dimension to the tissue/structures being viewed. If it is something like a fused vertebrae (when two vertebra decide to share a body - a congenital block vertebra), this can be made by an X-Ray. If there is something believed to be a deformity that might be pinching the spinal cord, then a CT scan or MRI is needed to determine how severe the impingement or deformity may be.

An X-ray could diagnose a spinal deformity, but depending on what it is, other lab work could be indicated but isn’t always necessary for purposes of a diagnosis. Some deformities have other correlating issues in other body systems or other parts of the spine, which is why other tests would be necessary to rule out other issues.
Severe pain that doesn’t have an obvious diagnosis by X-ray means you are a candidate for exam by a Chiropractor. This is what we do, clear the spine of subluxation, inflammation and any gross neuromuscular dysfunction to give the body a chance to increase its immune system just in case there are other root causes or referred causes. X-ray will not pick up subluxation or soft tissue tears. Even old scar tissue could inhibit movement resulting in the patient wanting to move less. Pain will stop movement, however, adjustments will create an environment for you move and then move inflammation out.
In most cases yes depending on what deformity your are referring.
Yes an X-ray can show spinal deformity of bones and an MRI can show deformity soft tissue like discs, muscles, and ligaments.
Thank you for your question. X-rays can be very beneficial for assisting in a diagnosis for a number of things. However, without an exam, I cannot say for certain if an X-ray, MRI, or CT would be most beneficial. X-rays are definitely a good starting point and are the most cost effective.
Many times, an X-ray is adequate to make a diagnosis. Depending upon the type of tissue involved, a CT (CAT scan) or MRI may be ordered to further evaluate the spine and/or soft tissue abnormalities.

Yes it can but if the pain continues and begins to intensify I would have a CAT scan and or MRI performed for a more definitive diagnosis.
Yes, you should have X-rays of your spine to better determine what the problem is and how bad it is. It is possible that you may need further testing depending on what is
discovered after analyzing your X-rays.

Start there and then take it one step at a time.

You would also want to be sure to receive the input of a chiropractor that you can trust as well as what your medical doctor tells you about what is wrong and how to best help you. Unfortunately, there are way too many people who follow initial medical advice which may be contrary to what a chiropractor (spine & nervous system doctor) may advise.

You could then make your decision after hearing different approaches as to what makes the most sense to you.

If you have your films done and are needing help with some answers, I would be happy to look them over for you and give you my best recommendations.

All my best,

Dr. Robert Arnone
Absolutely, there's certain spinal deformities that can be diagnosed via X-ray alone. Such conditions as scoliosis, spina bifida, anterolisthesis/spondylolisthesis, lumbarization/sacralization and hyperkyphosis of the thoracic spine or Gibbus deformity are some of the more common examples that are frequently diagnosed via X-ray.
Start with an X-ray. Then, depending on what the X-ray shows, request an MRI.
If the condition is an osseous (or bone) deformity, an X-ray should be able to determine the pathology. There are many deformities that are benign and do not need treatment, but it should be diagnosed. If further imaging is necessary, a CAT scan or an MRI should be ordered. Your physician should know if further imaging is medically necessary.

Take care and be well.
Dr. Eric Miller
As you may or may not know, X-rays just show bones. They don't show soft tissue structures like the tendons, ligaments, meniscus in the knee, muscles, cartilage, etc. Many people correctly assume that their injuries are soft tissue in nature, such as a rotator cuff tear, ligament tear, or meniscus tear. With that being said, if you had a curved spine, we would see that on an X-ray, however if you fell, and injured a ligament, the X-ray does not pick that up. We can however diagnose with a physical examination, any other pain you may be feeling other than what is picked up on an X-ray. In your case, the X-ray should be able to diagnose your deformity.
Do you live in the Rockford area?
An X-ray will usually be sufficient.
X-rays will show hard tissues such as bone so spinal deformities will be diagnosed from X-rays but if are having severe pain and radiation then there may be a disc issue. MRI would be the proper diagnostic tool if you are wondering if there is a disc or soft tissue injury such as bursisits or tendinitis.
X-rays can help the chiropractor identify problems the patient is dealing with and ultimately come to an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. One benefit to using X-rays is if a suspected deformity is found, we usually find another to compensate for that deformity.
If it's a bone deformity and the X-ray is a bone film, then no need to further testing.
Yes it can. I recommend you may want to see a chiropractor for an examination. Bring the X-rays to be analyzed.
Yours in health,
Dr. Zara