X-Rays are for more than broken bones. A lot of us are used to putting our medical care entirely in our doctors and nurses care. And while they are very capable, by taking charge and knowing some basic medical facts we can empower ourselves and be more confident about when to seek care. Check out the list of when to seek out a doctor and expect an X-Ray.



Detect bone injuries – For typical fractures and breaks there will be pain, swelling, bruising and an inability to move the limb or restricted movement. If any of these conditions are present seek medical care. Fractures are particularly common in children due to the more plastic nature of their bones. With several common fractures the child will still have relatively normal movement and little pain and swelling. Pay particular attention to young family members or children in your care.  


Identify bone deformities– These include congenital, developmental, and post-traumatic.


Verify healing of bones– To avoid post-traumatic injury bone deformities X-rays can be performed to make sure a bone is healing properly .


Verify placement of other medical devices such as implantable pumps and catheters. Any time a foreign object is implanted in your body there is a small chance that it will migrate or move. The placement can be checked as a standard of care or to rule out movement that might be causing other medical problems.


Rule out- Pneumonia or bronchitis. Bronchitis symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, sore throat, and pain. Pneumonia symptoms include a fever, cough, chest pain, and nausea. These conditions can be very similar to flu and cold symptoms so if you don’t seem to be getting better schedule an appointment.


View obstruction or presence of air in the bowel if patient has constipation or abdominal pain. Diarrhea can actually be the cause of an obstruction when the fecal matter is passing around the stool. It’s always best to see a doctor if you have unexplained diarrhea or constipation for a prolonged period of time. Over the counter medications can inadvertently worsen symptoms. Often an X-ray is the best way to determine the underlying cause or rule out typical culprits of abdominal pain.


See if gallstones or kidney stones are present. The most common symptoms for kidney stones are pain when urinating, blood in the urine, or a sharp pain in the back and side. For Gallstones the hallmark symptoms are pain in the upper abdomen or back, nausea, and vomiting. Here is a complete list of Gallstone Symptoms and Causes, and Kidney Stone Symptoms


In today’s fast paced world it can be difficult to determine when a trip to your doctor is necessary. We hope this list helped you understand when an X-ray should be part of your care.