Spine X-ray

Patients Need More than a Spine X-ray to Get the Picture

If you’re a specialist who deals with injuries or disorders of the spine, you’ve no doubt ordered your share of x-rays during your years of practice. X-rays are certainly a marvelous tool.

X-rays were discovered by a German scientist in 1895 and as early as 1897 they were being used on the battlefields of the Balkan War, having been determined to be a handy way to find bullets lodged in the body of a soldier or to detect broken bones. And while we’re much more careful today about dealing with x-ray-related radiation, they’re still a great way to diagnose any number of spine problems, including fractures, tumors, and spondylolisthesis. After x-rays are completed and a diagnosis determined, you – the expert – can let your patient know why they are hurting and what needs to be done to fix their problem.

So, how do you tell them?

Let’s take spondylolisthesis, for example. On a website meant to explain this degenerative disease to “regular” folks, the description of the problem is as follows:

“Every level of the spine is composed of a disc in the front and paired facet joints in the back. The disc acts as a shock absorber in between the vertebrae, whereas the paired facet joints restrain motion. They allow the spine to bend forwards (flexion) and backwards (extension) but do not allow for a lot of rotation. As the facet joints age, they can become incompetent and allow too much flexion, allowing one vertebral body to slip forward on the other.”1

Not bad, right? If you said this to a patient, they’d PROBABLY understand what you were trying to explain. But if you can go one step further and show them exactly what’s happening with their discs and vertebrae, chances are that the picture in their head will be much clearer. You can, of course, show them the spine x-ray. From that picture, they may garner a little more understanding. Or you can offer a full-color illustration in a text book. That might work.

But if you really want your patients to understand their spine, you’ll present them with a fully-movable 3D detailed model that’s unlike any others. That’s what the users of the models made by Dynamic Disc Designs (ddd) have been saying for the last several years.

The models made by ddd are the only one of their kind on the market. The company’s amazingly-detailed intervertebral disc models include a flexible and totally dynamic herniating (or prolapse) nucleus pulposus. This is achieved through a realistic 2-part intervertebral disc with 6 degrees of freedom, explains founder, Dr. Jerome Fryer, a chiropractor.

A picture produced by a spine x-ray can’t come close to these fully-dynamic models when it comes to educating patients about their condition.  Users of the ddd models agree.

Over 12 years, I have bought multiple [patient education] items. Spines, vertebrae models. However, the only one I use now is the ddd model,” says Dr. Tariq Arif. “It is absolutely the best. I hand it to the patient and go over their problem. It brings a realism factor. The patient’s problem is now REAL. X-rays are good but are static. This model is the REAL deal. I literally couldn’t practice without it.”


1 http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/diagnostic-tests/x-ray