Photo 08-02-2011 14 13 29

What is the latest in MRI scans, and what does it have to do with Chiropractic?
Written by Meriel Davis, associate chiropractor at Back 2 Balance in Hove.
Both myself and Becky were fortunate enough to train at the prestigious ‘Anglo-European College of Chiropractic’ (AECC) which is a very internationally respected chiropractic training college. The main premise behind the AECC is evidence based learning and with that comes state of the art imaging techniques as well. The latest edition to the college is the upright MRI scanner.


Included in chiropractic training is the taking and reading of x-rays. Spinal X-rays in the chiropractic profession are always taken upright. this is to help view the alignment of the spine or extremity joints when the patient is in a load bearing position. This sheds far more light on the situation compared to if the patient was lying down (standard hospital procedures) because as we all know we spend most of our lives upright sitting up/walking about rather than laying down all the time.

This is true for MRI studies…I have seen countless spinal MRI’s where evidence of disc injury is minimal however the patient’s symptoms when in certain positions are quite severe. By imaging the person upright we can view the compressive load that occurs in the spine on standing up compared to lying down. Therefor the discs will look different. A disc on a standard MRI may look normal but could actually be bulging on an upright MRI and this has been shown time and time again on upright MRI scanners. Upright MRIs give us a far more understanding of the human body and how it achieves stability against gravity. The same goes for upright X-rays. A person laying down is normally pain free compared to when they stand up so how about imaging them in their aggravating position.
Thankfully upright MRI scanners are becoming more common place. Even open MRI scanners have been developed where the person does’t have to feel claustrophobic. As imaging techniques progress this can only have a significant benefit to patients in viewing what is going on under the skin.  Luckily, here at Back 2 Balance, we have private referral capacity to some of the south coast’s local MRI departments. Feel free to ask one of us chiropractors about it.  If your chiropractor feels it is necessary, then they will mention it to you.
An important note however is that X-rays and MRI’s only take a ‘snapshot’ of an individuals mechanics…that is why it is important to have a physical examination where we can assess your MOVEMENT to! This helps to give us further clues as to what it happening in regards to any mechanical injury. This all aids in finding the right diagnosis out of countless causes of back pain and the different manifestations of these causes in different people.

Have you had an MRI scan? Did you get claustrophobic? Have you had an upright scanner? Did the MRI results help you with the diagnosis and subsequent treatment? Let us know…. don’t be shy…..