What do they really show? I had some x rays on my back last week and besides a "little" arthritis - and was assured it was nothing to be alarmed about - does it show anymore than just the bones? Would it possibly show a tumor, etc.? Am just asking because I was put on some pain medication and muscle relaxers. When I sit down for a bit, I can feel pain in top left side of butt, on up my back a little - feels sometimes like a lump or something is there. Any info on the x rays would be helpful. Thanks.
the day of my car accident i had ex-rays done in a ER. They sent me home saying i am perfectly OK and ex-rays showed nothing to worry about.
Only when i got progressively worse and had to have MRI and discogram - it showed a lot of damage from the accident plus Stenosis, DDD, Arthritis, etc.
When i asked my Doctor why it did not show on ex-rays he said that ex-rays very often is useless, but they have to start from them, because a lot of insurance companies will not aprove MRI right the way, they want to go cheaper ways to find out the problem.
Hope you feel better.
X-rays pretty much only show bone and believe me, you can have a perfectly normal looking x-ray, but still have ALOT of problems in that area.
I have DDD, spondylitis, and had severe stenosis. I had x-rays first, which only showed bone spurs and mild scoliosis. THat was it. My pain progressed pretty quickly and I had an MRI. The MRI is what showed 2 herniated discs (one was torn), DDD, spondylitis, mild stenosis in L1-L2, severe central canal stenosis in L3-L5, early arthritic changes in S1, and it also showed my ligamentum flavum was overly thickened and buckling into my canal. When it first all started, I had back spasms and even had a lump of swelling on my lower spine. THen I got all sorts of other pains, nerve pain, claudication, couldnt walk anymore, thankfully had the MRI's to find out exactly what was wrong & ended up having surgery.
I also had an ankle x-ray done several months ago ( I had been having pain, swelling, stiffness on & off for about 18 yrs) X rays never showed anything. I finally got an ankle MRI done recently ....and that showed I have extensively torn tendons, edema, arthritis, and even spots of bone death on my talus.
So if you have alot of ongoing pain, it's always best to have an MRI if you can.
I totally agree with everyone. To me, an x-ray is virtually useless for disk or nerve problems. Anytime, that I've had to have one done, they show thing like... a little DDD, and as it turned out, I have a severly herniated cervical disk and had to have emergency surgery. Samething on my back, ddd, and it was really a herniation.
But like was already mentioned, thats where they start. Then if you complain long enough, they'll do the MRI or CT.
What's called plain films, (plain old x-rays) are based on density. They can tell a lot. Bones are denser than air, for instance. Fluids are in between.
As far as tumors showing up, it would depend on density of the tumor, the quality of the film, and the skill of the one reading it.
I was looking at an x-ray once ( an A-P [front to back]) while in training of this ladies lungs. I thought I saw a tumor. Then the radiologist saw a matching one on the other side. He strung me along for quite some time until we looked at the lateral (from the side) film. Any guesses on what my tumors turned out to be? This is one of the faults of a plain film, they are not 3-D.