Early X-Ray Technology Use in Chiropractic

2020: 125 Years of Chiropractic

It’s official! Chiropractic medicine marks its 125th anniversary this year! Each month we’ll look at the many chiropractic products, innovations, and milestones throughout the decades. Last month, we looked at the founding of chiropractic in 1895. This month we turn our attention to key highlights from 1900–1910!

The First Chiropractic Use of X-Rays

With the turn of the century comes new advancements to the field of chiropractic. By 1910, chiropractic examinations start to include early X-rays of the skeleton and spine, or Spinography, for use during patient treatments.1 These X-rays help provide clearer visualization of the spine, thus improving chiropractic knowledge. From 1910 to the present, the addition of X-rays has played a significant role in the study and practice of chiropractic. Over time, technology changes have further developed the science of X-rays with the advancement of high-quality X-ray film and equipment as well as new digital X-ray machines, like Biokinemetrics’ ChiroSight Digital X-Ray System. 

D.D. Palmer’s son, B.J., is credited as the one who brought X-ray technology to chiropractic, bringing the first X-ray machine to the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1910.2 Though chiropractors at the time were concerned about harmful radiation exposure, the information X-rays could provide proved invaluable for students and patients. The technological improvements to X-rays over the last 100 years have helped make X-rays safer for patients and faster with sharper, clearer images rendered.

Additional Advancements

During this period, additional advancements to chiropractic medicine continue with the foundation of the Universal Chiropractor’s Association (UCA) in Iowa in 1906. The UCA is one of the first organizations to provide legal protective services to chiropractors as the field begins to develop. 

Looking Ahead

As we continue our look at the exciting chiropractic innovations, products, and milestones over the last 125 years, next month we will discuss the introduction of the concept of major subluxation to chiropractic as well as the death and posthumous work of D.D. Palmer. 

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1.Jenkins, H. J., Downie, A. S., Moore, C. S., & French, S. D. (2018). Current evidence for spinal X-ray use in the chiropractic profession: a narrative review. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. doi: 10.1186/s12998-018-0217-8

2.A Brief History of X-Ray Technology in Chiropractic Science. (2015, December 4). Retrieved January 2, 2020, from https://www.sherman.edu/chiropractic-profession/brief-history-x-ray-technology-chiropractic-science/.

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