Can a Chiropractor Order an MRI?

October 7, 2020 – 3 min read

Share this post:

A doctor showing a model of a spine, a common location of pain that a chiropractor may order an MRI to investigate further.

Can a Chiropractor Order an MRI?

When experiencing back pain, many people may seek a chiropractor for minimally invasive relief. However, an adjustment may not always be the most appropriate course of action and could even be dangerous. A chiropractor may determine that you need an MRI. An MRI scan can help reveal important information, and a chiropractor can order one if they think that is the next best course of action.

An adjustment may not always be the answer, but a lot of chiropractors use this to determine how to best treat their patient. To investigate the health of your spine, a chiropractor relies on the use of hands-on assessments and X-rays. These evaluations may often be enough to understand and diagnose issues with spinal health or pain in your back or neck.

However, if your pain persists, an additional or a different type of treatment may be in order, such as an MRI.

When Might a Chiropractic MRI Referral Be Necessary?

Specifically, a chiropractor may recommend you get an MRI if he or she suspects:

  • Disc degeneration—Vertebral degenerative disc disease occurs when the rubbery pads between the vertebrae become dry and crack. When these discs become less effective at padding the spine, they may also bulge or slide out of place. When this occurs, painful pressure can develop.
  • Dislocations—Car accidents and sports injuries are examples of events that may dislocate areas such as the hip, knee, shoulder and spine. An MRI can offer more information about the health of the bones and soft tissues.
  • Fractures in the bones or vertebral compression fractures—These injuries may signal the presence of conditions, such as osteoporosis, that require medical intervention.
  • Spinal stenosis—This common condition causes the spinal canal (the channel in the spinal column which houses the spinal cord) to become narrow. This narrowing can compress the nerves and, by extension, cause numbness, pain, tingling and weakness in the body.
  • Spinal tumors—Though they are rare, spinal tumors can cause back pain and nerve damage. If your back pain is resistant to chiropractic intervention, a spinal tumor could be present.

Can a Chiropractor Read an MRI?

If your chiropractor recommends an MRI to investigate your back pain, the board-certified radiologists with American Health Imaging (AHI) can diagnose the issue with state-of-the-art equipment. A low back MRI captures detailed images of the spine and surrounding soft tissues in a matter of minutes. The imaging test is painless, and you can typically expect same-day results.

Radiologists at AHI can collaborate with your chiropractor to read your MRI and make determinations about the cause of your back pain.
If you are concerned about the cost of low back imaging, we can help you access screenings at rates that are 63% to 78% lower than what a hospital would charge. Our financial experts can help you learn about insurance pre-authorizations and what you can expect to pay at AHI.

If chiropractic intervention is not providing you relief from you back pain, an MRI may help identify the root cause. Contact us to learn more about an MRI with AHI.