As with any professional medical provider, our chiropractic physicians use a range of diagnostic tools to obtain a clear understanding of an injury before outlining the most effective medical action plan for each patient. Two of the most common tools we use are x-rays and MRIs. There are many differences between how these tests are run and the results they provide.

What's the difference between an X-ray and an MRI?


  • X-rays may show only bones and spaces: Acute fractures, dislocations, arthritis, alignment, etc.
  • X-rays use radiation, which travels through the body, to create the image on film.
  • X-rays cannot show disc injuries or torn ligaments, tendons and muscles.
  • X-rays cannot show traumatic brain injuries or damaged nerve tissue.


  • MRIs can show bones and spaces: Fractures, dislocations, arthritis, alignment, tumor, etc.
  • MRIs can show show disc injuries: Bulges, herniations, extrusions, sequestration and annual tearing.
  • MRIs can show muscle tissue, and possible tendon and ligament injuries.
  • MRIs can show nerves, brain tissue, edema, spinal cord injuries or swelling, vascular injury and contusions.
  • MRIs use magnetic fields, not radiation, to create the images.

Ask your chiropractor at The Neck and Back Clinics if a 1.5T GE® MRI can help provide a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical action plan.

Chiropractic Physicians
Individual results may vary.