When is an X-ray less useful?

An X-ray is not generally recommended if:

  • it will not help to diagnose or treat your condition
  • a different type of imaging test is better for your particular situation.

While some people think that having an X-ray or other type of imaging will help give a definite answer about their health condition, that’s not always the case.

X-rays and other types of imaging are not recommended for most cases of acute low back pain. Only when pain is accompanied by other signs or symptoms (e.g. weight loss, fever, pins and needles or weakness in the legs), or continues to worsen despite treatment, is imaging usually recommended.

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