Seated x-rays for diagnosis, testing, assessing progress, and proof of treatment effectiveness

The Pettibon System starts with an x-ray examination. Seven views of the spine are routinely taken, more if necessary. X-rays are also used in impairment ratings and 'tests' to determine if and how patients will respond to care.

The initial set of examination x-rays are compared to x-rays taken during treatment to assess progress and ultimately to prove the treatment's success. Whether the x-rays are for diagnosis, testing, assessing progress, post-treatment evaluation and/or proof, patients are seated and the x-rays are always taken, marked, and measured the same way, every time.


Abnormal spinal form can’t be detected on x-rays until the soft tissues fail. When the soft tissues are no longer are able to hold the hard tissues (vertebrae) together, erect and aligned with gravity, the spine buckles into its injured position.

When we go from a standing to a sitting position, we increase interdiscal pressure by 30%. When we go from lying down to sitting, the pressure is increased by 50%. So Pettibon x-rays are taken seated to increase stress in the spinal para-vertebral soft tissue. Having patients seated for x-rays also eliminates the influence of unequal contraction from the legs' muscles that attach to the spine.

Conventional chiropractic x-ray procedures don't consider spinal soft tissue injuries. The Pettibon System's x-ray procedures do. Using aligned x-ray machines and repeatable patient positioning, Pettibon practitioners can:

  • Make valid scientific measurements of the direction and amount of spinal displacement
  • Classify the configuration (balanced or un-balanced) and its severity
  • Calculate the amount of soft tissue injury and impairment
  • Show patients how their spines compare to the optimum upright spine
  • Determine if new patients' spines will respond and correct under care
  • Prescribe appropriate treatment plans and assess progress
  • Prove their clinical care corrected patients' spine and posture

Debunking the myth about x-rays with facts:

The accepted cumulative dose of ionizing radiation during pregnancy is 5 rads; the most sensitive time is between 10 and 17 weeks.

  1. Two routine chest x-rays = .00007 rad.
  2. Radiation to the fetus shouldn't exceed 10,000 millirads.
  3. Annual environmental radiation is 300 millirads/year which equals 12 chest x-rays.
  4. The Pettibon X-ray Series (7 views) = 20 millirads.
  5. To exceed 10,000 millirads would take 3,124 x-rays.

Testing Before Being Accepted As A Patient

Prospective patients aren’t automatically accepted for care. Doctors need to determine ‘if’ and ‘how’ prospective patients will respond to care. And this requires testing. In one test, prospective patients will wear Pettibon System Weights and have their lateral cervical spine re-x-rayed. Other tests evaluate whether prospective patients’ postural muscles are strong enough for the corrective procedures. Typically, as high as 40% lack the strength and endurance they need. So they will be required to go through a rehabilitation program to strengthen their postural muscles before going on to spinal correction.

Active Patient Participation In Care

With The Pettibon System, patients actively participate in their care—both at the clinic and at home.

When patients come to the clinic, they don’t sit passively waiting to see the doctor. They prepare for their examination by doing warm up exercises and stretching their muscles, ligaments and discs using the Wobble ChairTM and the Repetitive Cervical TractionTM.

The Repetitive Cervical Traction and Wobble Chair produce hysteresis in the soft tissues by putting them through loading and unloading cycles. The Repetitive Cervical Traction does this for the neck and the Wobble Chair does this for the low back.

Strengthening postural muscles and building endurance is an ongoing process with The Pettibon System. So patients use the clinic’s rehabilitation equipment—like the Linked Exercise TrainerTM—as well as their own equipment twice daily at home.