What can generally be seen in a x-ray image?

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To give context: A friend of mine took an x-ray of his thoracic spine because he's feeling pain in that region. I think he's going to show the x-ray to the doctor this week.

I, as a physics student, was asking myself, what can be seen through an x ray. In the case of my friend, it's unlikely that he has a broken bone. What's causing his pain will still leave signs to be seen through the x ray?

I thought an x ray would show if your spine is not straight or if you have a broken bone, not being able to show any other cause, because if your bones are ok, then what's left to be checked for the pain is the tissue, right? But x rays can't "see" them.
 

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  • #3
berkeman
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A friend of mine took an x-ray of his thoracic spine because he's feeling pain in that region. I think he's going to show the x-ray to the doctor this week.
How did he manage to do that? Most folks don't have access to an X-ray machine outside of a doctor's office. I sure hope he knew what he was doing...

Normal X-ray:

https://radiopaedia.org/cases/normal-radiographic-anatomy-of-the-thoracic-spine
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  • #4
gleem
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One thing a spine x-ray can tell you is if a spinal disk is herniated and thus pressing on the spine. How did your friend get access to a x-ray unit. He also need someone to actually take the x-ray i.e. press the on switch which is usually located many feet away from the tube and in separate lead lined booth.
 
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The doctor asked for the exam. Here it's common that you go to the doctor, explains to him your problem, and he asks for exams and you go back to him another day to show your results.

oh, and the exam was taken in an appropriate clinic.
 
  • #6
berkeman
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That's a relief! :smile:
 
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phinds
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@kent davidge why do you restrict your profile? I went to see what country you are in and I'm blocked from your profile. Is there a reason for this?
 
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@kent davidge why do you restrict your profile? I went to see what country you are in and I'm blocked from your profile. Is there a reason for this?
No, I didn't even remember when I did it. I will try to make it public...
 
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davenn
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Is there a reason for this?

He must have some classified secrets to hide :rolleyes:
 
  • #10
phinds
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No, I didn't even remember when I did it. I will try to make it public...
I see you have been unsuccessful. You could PM a mentor and ask for help, or pose the question in the "feedback and announcements" forum.
 

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