A chiropractor sometimes orders x-rays to see any major misalignment of your vertebrae. However, several other chiropractors skip the x-rays unless they can palpate or see potentially disturbing issues with your spine. A visual cue is a severe s-curve in your back, or your shoulders clearly do not align over your hips. Palpating for problems may find things the naked eye does not see or notice. Here is how chiropractors use palpation to find serious conditions in your back.
Light Touch Down the Center of Your Spine
Light, almost tickly touch is used down the very center of your spine. Your chiropractor never wants to apply any pressure here because it could make an undiagnosed condition worse and/or cause small fractures of the vertebrae. Ergo, the center of the spine is checked with a very light touch. If there seems to be any protrusions on the center or just off center of the spine, then the chiropractor will examine these a little closer. They could indicate herniated discs, tumors, and even compressed nerve bundles.
Firm Pressure to the Sides of the Spinal Column
Next, your chiropractor will use a firmer pressure with his/her fingers to feel out lumps on either side of your spine that should not be there. He/she will also watch for any reactions you have to the pressure applied. If the lumps cause you pain and you cry out, twitch, or jump, these are areas your chiropractor will take note of and want to see an x-ray of. If you make no sound at all and show no signs of reaction, but the lumps are obvious to the chiropractor's fingers and/or eyes, x-rays are in order then too. Pain triggered could mean compressed or pinched nerves or herniated discs, while no sensation could indicate a tumor on your spine or complete damage to a nerve bundle.
Harder Pressure Just a Few Inches Away from the Spine
After making note of anything unusual on or very close to your spine, your chiropractor may then use firmer pressure a few inches away from your spine. He/she is looking to see how far the unusual oddities in your back extend, how much the pain extends away from these areas, and/or the possible extent of a tumor. If there is a tumor and it extends outward from your spine, the chiropractor may be able to fell just how far the tumor reaches. X-rays of your back as well as an MRI of your torso will provide confirmation of any potential issues and whether or not you need to follow up with your doctor and a specialist.
For more information, contact companies like Citrus Chiropractic Group.