When the x-ray was invented in 1895, it was considered a miracle of medicine at that time. For the first time in history, doctors could actually see inside the body to confirm or rule out what the doctor suspected in the case history and examination. For example, taking the x-ray allowed the doctor to see any type of abnormal conditions, whether it was fractures, infections and arthritis. Although we have come so far since then in 21st century medicine, with MRI’s, CT scans, and so many other current technological advancements, the x-ray is still used effectively, and is a significant tool to help diagnose diseases and conditions.
Did you know that there was a time that x-rays were used for other purposes besides looking for, and ruling out diseases? For example, there was a time, between the 1930’s and the 1950’s that you could walk into a shoe store and have an x-ray taken of your feet while wearing that new pair of shoes to see if it was fitting properly? It was actually a special kind of an x-ray called fluoroscopy, and it was enclosed with lead inside a big, wooden looking piece of furniture with openings at the bottom where you would insert your feet while standing, and a viewer so you and the shoe salesman can see your foot’s bones and how it fit in the shoe.
This method of checking shoe size and comfort was basically a novelty, which was used as a gimmick to get people into the shoe store during the Great Depression initially. The prospective customer was actually the children of parents who were told that to check to make sure their children’s shoes fit properly would ensure that the shoes would last longer and save the parents more money in the long term. So, the children’s feet were put in the fluoroscope as well. What was also happening at the time is that people by the dozens would crowd up the store just to see the bones in their feet for free. By the end of the 1950’s, due to the lack of business that it was generating and the cost of the machine, the shoe fluoroscope was a thing of the past.
The x-ray was also used as a treatment for acne in the first several decades of its existence. This is treated today by over the counter remedies, and in more severe cases, by prescription medications or laser treatments. In addition, natural treatments such as nutritional and naturopathy/homeopathy, and yes, chiropractic as well, can help this condition that most of us deal with in our teenage years, and can continue into our 30’s and 40’s in some cases. That being said, in the early days, it was found that x-ray treatments for acne would seem to decrease production of oil glands that would get clogged and lead to acne pimples. This treatment was used all the way into the 1960’s, when it was discontinued due to concerns about long term effects, many decades later, of the x-ray that was required in the treatments.
In the chiropractic office, there are many reasons why x-rays are taken. Not only does the chiropractor look for spinal alignments and changes in posture, but any diseases such as cancers and infections are ruled out, as well as possible arthritic conditions, to name a few. Due to the current advancements, x-rays of today are also so vastly safer than they were back in the day when they were used in the shoe store as well. In fact, you get more x-rays from a day hanging out in the sun than you get from the normal x-ray examination in a chiropractic office. It is safe, and very useful to help to get people to their maximum level of health!