METHODS: One thousand four random patient files dated between 1997 and 2001 were obtained from the records of the outpatient clinic at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. In cases in which radiographs were taken, the radiographic reports were analyzed by the authors for the presence of a number of anomalies.
RESULTS: Eight hundred forty-seven full-spine radiographs were included in the study. Anomalies were found in 68% of patients who had radiographs taken. The 5 most frequently occurring anomalies in descending order were degenerative joint disease (23.8%), posterior ponticle (13.6%), soft tissue abnormalities (13.5%), transitional segments (9.8%), and spondylolisthesis (7.8%). Other noteworthy occurrences because of their generalized status as absolute contraindications to adjustment are fracture (6.6%), malignant tumor (0.8%-3.1%), abdominal aortic aneurysm (0.8%) and atlantoaxial instability (0.6%).
CONCLUSION: A large percentage of patients presenting for chiropractic care have anomalies present on spinal radiographs. Further research and analysis is necessary to investigate the risk-verses-benefit ratio of spinal radiographs for chiropractic patients.
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