There are a variety of diagnostic exams your doctor may recommend to determine the cause of your back and/or neck pain, as well as the type of treatment that may be appropriate for you.
What Is An X-ray?
An x-ray is a painless, non-invasive imaging process that utilizes photographic film to absorb electromagnetic radiation transmitted through a material body. These images, also known as radiographs or roentgenograms, are used to diagnose and monitor the treatment of various disorders.
Why Do I Need X-ray Imaging?
If you are experiencing back and/or neck pain, forward and backward bending x-rays may help your doctor assess any potential causes of spinal instability. Your doctor may recommend an x-ray to:
- Determine whether a bone is broken, chipped or dislocated
- Evaluate joint injuries and bone infections
- Examine the bones or discs in your spine
- Diagnose and monitor the progression of degenerative spinal conditions, such as osteoporosis
- Check for scoliosis
How Is X-ray Imaging Done?
During an x-ray exam, you will lie on a table, or sit or stand between the x-ray machine and an x-ray film or plate. The technologist or radiologist will then aim the machine at the area of your body to be examined; usually, the area will be filmed from several different angles. The images are recorded digitally or on film, and viewed within minutes. A radiologist typically views and interprets the results, then sends a report to your doctor.
An x-ray exam may be done at a hospital, outpatient facility or even at your doctor's office. After the test you can resume your normal activities.
Are There Any Potential Risks Or Complications?
Because the level of radiation you're exposed to during the exam is so small, there is minimal risk involved; however, please advise your doctor if you are pregnant, have asthma or allergies or a medical condition.
Before undergoing your exam, please ask your doctor or a member of the office staff about any specific pre- or post-exam instructions they may recommend.