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Posted on 08-19-2013

The Importance of X-rays following Auto Accidents in Baltimore

We've all heard stories of people being involved in roll-over auto accidents and being taken away on stretchers to the hospital. When they get to the ER they are given X-rays and/or CT scans to rule out fractures. You may be surprised to realize that in most cases of rear-end auto accidents or in cases where ambulances do not take automobile occupants to the hospital, most ERs/Urgent Care facilities do not take X-rays of the patients.

On one hand, that may seem reasonable. You might think that it is unlikely that these occupants would have suffered fractures. While this may or may not be the case, it is important to recognize that X-rays following auto accidents in Baltimore need to be administered to monitor the stability of spinal segments following trauma, and not just the presence/absence of fractures.

I often joke with patients that I do not have X-ray vision. Following sudden trauma to the spine it is important to rule out not only fractures (which are admittedly rare), but more importantly, any other relative or absolute contraindications to chiropractic therapy. I've seen plenty of examples where hospitals/ERs did not X-ray a patient and then when I did in my office I found evidence of ligamentous laxity that would put them at risk of receiving chiropractic manipulation.

Dr. Arthur Croft in his book "Whiplash and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Guide for Patients and Practitioners", Dr. Croft notes "...fractures may be missed simply because the ER doctor did not feel the type of injury warranted radiographs. In a report from a group of 32,117 trauma patients here in San Diego, the single most common error identified in missed cases of pathology was failure to obtain an adequate cervical spine radiographic series." (page 221).

In my nearly 5 years as a practicing Chiropractor in both Las Vegas, Nevada and Baltimore, Maryland I have seen several cases where a patient either did not get an X-ray at the hospital, or was told that they did not need an X-ray. When I insisted we take some films "just to be safe" we discovered subtle fractures and/or aberrant motion that warranted immediate orthopedic referral. Had I not taken the films, I could have put the patient's health at risk.

In my office not every patient gets an X-ray. My clinical decision making process depends on the patient's age, presenting symptoms, history, and my physical examination findings. Patients involved in automobile accidents in Baltimore seeking auto accident therapy will always have an X-ray prior to beginning therapy. There's an old saying in Chiropractic "to see is to know and not to know is to guess...I don't want to guess about your spinal condition."

If you, or anyone you know, has been involved in an auto accident in Baltimore and are in need of auto accident treatment in Baltimore, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be glad to take X-rays and render the appropriate course of rehabilitation.

Dr. Gulitz

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