Philosophy and the Use of X-Ray

Article By Dr. Felicia Stewart

Part of our profession chooses to focus on correction of subluxation solely to remove interference to the expression of the mental impulse. The PSCA supports these chiropractors and their choice to practice thusly. As such, they concentrate on analyzing and categorizing the subluxation. They recognize that a subluxation is a vertebra that has “lost its proper juxtaposition with the one above or the one below, or both” (Stephenson Art. 26), and that innate intelligence cannot generate sufficient force from within to effect a correction. The application of outside force is needed.


It has been said (four times in the Green Books) that “Chiropractic is SPECIFIC or it is nothing.” It stands to reason then, that in order to put in the most specific force possible, we should be able to describe where the subluxated vertebra is and in what direction it needs to move. Thereby we can apply a force best able to be used by innate to affect a correction.

X-ray is a tool

X-rays are used by chiropractors to help characterize the misalignment aspect of the subluxation. For example, it makes a difference to our adjustment to know the slope of the articulation between occiput and atlas. It assists in generating the correct line of drive. Of course, we also use the images we take to rule out any contraindications to a safe and effective adjustment. The end result is the application of a force meant not for therapeutic treatment but to remove interference to the mental impulse and allow the initiation of the process of restoration by innate. X-ray is one of those tools that is complicated by the fact that it is used by multiple professions, most with therapeutic objectives.

We determine how x-rays are used

To protect and preserve our objective of subluxation correction, we must stand firmly behind our unique rationale for taking x-rays. We must not let therapeutic professions, such as the medical profession (nor the therapeutic branch of our own profession), dictate to us guidelines for the use of x-ray which are based in therapeutics. We must protect our philosophically rational use of x-ray to characterize the subluxation misalignment.

Canada, X-ray, and Chiropractic

For example, the use of x-ray to assist in the correction of subluxation is currently under fire in Canada. There chiropractors are finding themselves being held to medical standards concerning the use of x-ray. Canadian chiropractors could find themselves stripped of their ability to use x-ray in an appropriate manner consistent with our philosophy.

PSCA’s position on X-ray

To better understand the use of x-rays for those wanting to characterize the misalignment aspect of the vertebral subluxation, please read the paper by Dr. Christopher Kent that was published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research and adopted by the PSCA. A copy of which is in the member’s section of the PSCA’s website ( The PSCA also has a public position paper concerning the use of x-rays in the chiropractic profession that can be found at ray-position/.

One Response

  1. Thank you! In this day and age as x-ray for the vertebral subluxation centered chiropractor is under fire, this is a very timely piece.

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