Why Do Chiropractors Take X-rays

Have you ever wondered “Why do chiropractors take X-rays?” Or, have you considered going to see a chiropractor, but are worried because your chiropractor may recommend X-rays? Some people feel X-rays may not be needed for their case. Let’s discuss these concerns.


X-rays are a diagnositc tool utilized by many health care professionals to see the structure and alignment of bony structures. In the medical field, doctors use X-rays to rule out fracture, dislocation or congenital abnormalities. In the chiropractic world we look for the same things, plus we are looking at spinal curvatures, alignment and motion of the bones. In our office, we are one of the few chiropractors in Chicago that perform motion study X-rays. It is critical to see how your spine is moving, and more importantly, where it is not moving. As you can see, X-rays are extremely important in determining the cause of your pain.


Many people have a fear of radiation from X-rays, or a common concern is that a patient may have had a lot of radiation recently from cancer treatments or a recent imaging study. The Mayo Clinic states that radiation of a fetus should not exceed 10,000mR. To better understand what this means let’s break it down further.

Annual radiation from our environment = 300mR

12 chest X-rays = 300mR

7 View Chiropractic X-ray series = 20mR

To exceed 10,000mR per year, one would have to take more than 3,395 X-ray series! When we examine the risk vs. reward in taking X-rays, the reward of the clinical information far outweighs the risks.


X-rays are not always necessary in our office. There are many factors involved in deciding whether or not to take X-rays. I always ensure my patients are comfortable in our office and involved in the decision making process. If you have concerns about X-rays or radiation we can discuss these during your initial visit to our office.

Thank You and Be Well

Dr. Bourdage



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