There’s no doubt that the discovery of x-rays and their applications to medical science have been a huge benefit to humanity in terms of diagnosing numerous conditions; however, many medical practitioners have begun to overestimate the value of x-ray imaging and underestimate its potential harm to patients. On top of all this, the expense from all of these unnecessary x-rays drives up the cost of medical care for patients across the board.
While it might seem like an x-ray is the only course of action for revealing an internal condition, this is surprisingly not the case—for example, many chiropractors use x-rays when it comes to lower back pain because they can’t actually see the spine with their eyes. However, according to recommendations provided by the American Joint Society and American College of Physicians using x-rays to help diagnose lower back pain is not advised.
When is an X-Ray Warranted?
Just because some medical practitioners rely too heavily on x-ray imaging doesn’t mean that all x-rays are unnecessary. Using x-rays can provide a chiropractor or doctor with an intimate and detailed look at a patient’s condition that might not be possible with a traditional medical exam or patient history, but rarely should x-ray imaging be the first diagnostic tool that practitioners use when attempting to help a patient.
What are the Costs of Unnecessary X-Rays?
The radiology industry is a booming business. It’s estimated that over $100 billion is spent annually on things like x-rays and CT scans. Unfortunately, many of these are completely unnecessary. America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) estimates that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of these procedures don’t actually help diagnose or treat conditions, which means that up to $10 billion a year is being wasted!
A Commonsense Approach to X-Rays
When it comes to x-ray imaging, it’s best to take a moderate approach on the issue. Don’t write them off as useless because that’s definitely not the case. However, be wary of medical practitioners that want to x-ray you right off the bat. There are many safer and more cost-effective diagnostic alternatives that should be attempted before submitting to an x-ray.
At Tampa Bay Spine & Injury, we request x-rays only when it is necessary. We don’t believe in exposing our patients to unnecessary radiation. If an x-ray is needed, we have top-notch modern technology for such occasions. The x-rays we do are modern digital x-rays of very high quality. Learn more about x-rays at Tampa Bay Spine & Injury.