Dynamic Chiropractic - September 12, 1995, Volume 13, Issue 19

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Here's Looking at You

The diagnosis of what is causing back pain is often made by interpreting x-rays. But the type of health care provider interpreting those films may have a great influence on what is found (or missed). When various providers were tested for the ability to interpret abnormal lumbosacral spine radiographs, here is how they placed:

(horizontal graphs using x-ray graphic in different colors)

Provider Group             Average correct

Chiropractic Radiologist - 71%

Skeletal Radiologist & Fellows - 70.18%

Chiropractic Radiology Residents - 61.54%

General Medical Radiologists - 51.64%

Medical Radiology Residents - 44.64%

Medical Clinicians - 31.26%

Chiropractic Clinicians - 28.38%

Chiropractic Students - 20.45%

Medical Students - 5.74%

While one would expect a difference between the provider groups, specialists appear to be twice as accurate as non-specialists.

----------------------------- SOURCE: Taylor JAM, et al. Interpretation of abnormal lumbosacral spine radiographs. Spine 1995;20:1147-1154.