Do I Need an Xray?

Stan the skelteton in the window of Guiseley Osteopaths

Do I Need an X-Ray or and MRI?

As osteopaths we use our clinical skills and experience to diagnose your problem, usually without the need to use X-rays or MRI scans. Occasionally we may refer you back to your GP if we think that further investigations are needed to diagnose the problem or maybe offer alternative treatment approaches.


X-rays use small amounts of radiation to create images of your body. The level of radiation exposure is considered safe for most adults, but not for a developing baby.

It is useful for detecting:

  • Broken Bones after an fall or injury
  • Osteoporosis in the elderly
  • Severe degeneration that could be causing a trapped nerve.
  • Dislocations
  • Infections
  • Tumours


Doesn’t use radiation so safer than X-ray and shows both the hard and soft structures in the body

Useful for detecting:

  • Disc bulges that are compressing nerves
  • Unusual growths
  • Spinal stenosis (where the spinal cord is squashed)
  • Bone problems
  • Torn ligaments
  • Torn cartilage


Case Study

Mrs B, a 64 year old lady consulted me complaining of a painful and swollen knee which was clicking when she walked up and down stairs.  She was unable to stand for too long without the knee giving way and the pain was impacting her daily routines.  Following an examination I diagnosed that she had a medial meniscus tear (where part of the knee cartilage is damaged).  Sometimes osteopathic treatment, which releases the soft tissues around the joint with gentle joint manipulation, can settle the symptoms down.  However, Mrs B’s relief was short lived and it was agreed that further investigations (MRI scan) was needed to determine whether surgery might more appropriate.  After writing to her GP explaining her symptoms and likely diagnosis she was referred on the musculo-skeletal team.  She received an MRI scan which confirmed my diagnosis and is now awaiting a date to have the cartilage repaired.

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