Are X-rays Harmful?

X-rays are one of the most used apparatus in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities worldwide. X-rays are used to see what’s normally invisible – to see a bone fracture, a swallowed object, or  liquid in the lungs. This is extremely beneficial as it means that a doctor can investigate potential problems without having to conduct more invasive tests or operations. x-rays are an indispensable part of the health system that saves doctors time and effort and therefore in turn saves time and effort.

Are X-Rays More Harm than Good?

Each week x-ray scans are brought into Inlign osteopath Melbourne for assessment. This is great, as osteopaths are able to read the results of x-rays and make more informed treatment diagnosis decisions.

In general we all have a basic understanding that x-rays are harmful. But apart from this general statement, we often don’t know any more. As with everything in life, x-rays have pros and cons. It’s just that these pros and cons tend to be quite polorising. X-ray machines release electromagnetic energy that allows images of your bones and organs to be viewed  without surgery. This light energy released in the machine is known to be high in radiation. An x-ray is a form of an ionizing radiation which causes chemical reactions to cells when these cells are exposed to the energy emitted by the x-ray machine. Or to go one step further, when an x-ray hits an atom in your body, the electron of an atom changes into a charged ion that can cause the harmful chemical reactions. This can have the unfortunate side effect of killing or mutating cells in your body.

It should be noted that your exposure to the x-ray is extremely brief. This reduces the impact of any damage to your body. And doctors know the risks. This means that the x-ray exposure can often be localised to specific areas of your body.

You may also notice that to reduce exposure risk you are given a heavy ‘blanket’ to hold or cradle. This blanket is filled with lead, which cannot be penetrated by the x-ray, thereby protecting parts of your body that don’t need to be exposed.

Don’t think that radiation exposure can only be transferred through x-rays. We are also exposed to naturally occurring radiation through living our normal lives.

X-rays are hugely beneficial and should not be avoided if required. As the benefits of observing x-ray results outweigh the exposure risks. It’s just prudent to be aware of these x-ray risks as you should not willingly agree to a fleeting request for an x-ray, especially if you have had many x-rays in the past. If in any doubt, discuss your concerns with your doctor.