An X-ray machine emits tiny particles of electromagnetic radiation that pass through soft tissue, such as muscle, ligaments, and tendons, to create a detailed image of significant internal structures. In some cases, an X-ray scan may also require injecting a contrast medium, or dye, into the body to help improve image detail.
An X-ray image is made of various shades of white and gray. Because bones and metal objects are solid, it is difficult for radiation to pass through them, making them appear white on the radiograph. Skin, muscle, blood, and other fluids, and fat, on the other hand, will appear gray because a greater amount of radiation is able to pass through.
Areas containing pockets of air, or even a fracture, will appear black on an
X-ray scan because there is nothing to stop the radiation beams from passing through.
Doctors may need conventional X-ray images to evaluate symptoms that originate inside the body and to diagnose injuries. A few reasons patients may need to undergo an X-ray include:
Identify fractures (cracks) and breaks or infections in bones and teeth
Diagnose cavities and evaluate structures in the mouth and jaw
Identify signs of joint changes that indicate arthritis
Locate signs of heart failure or changes in blood flow to the lungs and heart
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- Identify tumors on bones
- Identify problems in the digestive tract such as kidney stones, sometimes using a contrast medium called barium
- Measure bone density as a means of diagnosing osteoporosis
- Locate signs of pneumonia, tuberculosis, or lung cancer (chest X-rays)
- Examine breast tissue for signs of cancer using a special X-ray technique called mammography1
- Locate swallowed items such as a coin or tiny toy in children
Depending on the results of the X-ray scan, physicians may recommend treatment with injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine.
Las Vegas Primary Care offers a few types of joint and soft tissue injections; these include sacroiliac joint injections, epidural injections, nerve blocks, piriformis injections, and trigger point injections.
Pain management techniques can provide pain relief through cold and heat therapy, massage, acupuncture, gentle exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, music therapy, yoga, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Some patients may struggle to perform daily job responsibilities and need occupational medicine, which could help them regain functional abilities and return to work as soon as possible.
X-ray scans that identify severe illness or injury, such as broken bones, may require advanced treatment that may include physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, and even surgery. Las Vegas Primary Care supports patients needing a range of treatments and staff is available to answer any questions about obtaining advanced treatment.
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