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Chiropractic Research Review

Chiropractic Biophysics and X-Ray Reliability

Several studies have shown that plain radiographs can be a reliable form of patient assessment in the chiropractic profession. Recent guidelines, however, suggest that x-rays are unnecessary in the first 4-7 weeks for patients with low back pain.

Those guidelines prompted this study to further assess the reliability of a particular x-ray examination (chiropractic biophysics) that uses an ideal normal as a reference point.

A computer and a sonic digitizer were utilized to investigated the reliability of a radiographic measurement procedure that determines projected spinal displacements from the ideal position. Thirty-seven anterior-posterior lumbopelvic radiographs were selected from the patient files of a private chiropractic office and analyzed by three doctors of chiropractic, all of whom had several years of experience using the procedure.

Results: The authors demonstrated that the doctors using the procedure could generate similar results, representing good interexaminer reliability. Statistically, the authors published values that are within the accepted range for clinical and research studies.

The authors find these results promising because "measures similar to those described in this study are commonly used to measure and categorize spinal displacements from true vertical alignment."

Troyanovich SJ, Harrison SO, Harrison DD, et al. Chiropractic biophysics digitized radiographic mensuration analysis of the anteroposterior lumbopelvic view: a reliability study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, June 1999:22(5), pp309-315.
Reprints: (800) 453-4351 or (314) 453-4351

Chiropractic Research Review

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