Digital Motion X-Ray (DMX): Do You Know Your True Diagnosis?

August 3, 2023Kolton Opdahl

What is a Digital Motion X-Ray?

A Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) is essentially a moving diagnostic x-ray of your body in present time while you move. Due to its ability to view joint instabilities & other bodily structures, it is very helpful for you and the doctor to see exactly why you’re having pain, and also for the doctor to determine a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Anyone who has experienced a concussion, whiplash, or other neck injuries would benefit from a DMX.  Regular static X-rays and MRI’s cannot detect abnormal motions, so a DMX is especially helpful if you have chronic symptoms.

DMX Detecting Chronic Joint Pain or Instability

Joint instability refers to tension on nerve endings and supporting bone structures. An increased motion between two adjacent bones is the primary cause of this. Generally speaking, this chronic pain occurs in the ligament, which is what causes the adjacent bones to move uncontrollably. The body tries to prevent this motion by limiting movement in the following ways:

  • Swelling the joint
  • Creating muscle spasms around the affected area
  • Forming bone spurs (long-term)

When considering treatment, it’s important to weigh out your options. For instance, cortisone shots have great short-term effects to relax the muscles and limit swelling; however, they don’t fix the actual joint issue. Alternatively, prolotherapy is a non-invasive and non-surgical treatment that offers long-term relief from joint pain and related conditions. We recommend choosing the non-surgical route if you’re looking for long-lasting relief.

How are Digital Motion X-rays Performed?

The individual getting the x-ray will first get into the proper position. Once ready, the person will move their neck, spine, or peripheral joint in a variety of motions while the DMX records the movement. The camera takes 30 frames per second when creating the entire motion x-ray, which then sequence accordingly to demonstrate the bone movement. In some cases, the doctor will have the person put their joint under some sort of stress, such as holding a weight. This is so they can specifically analyze the instability.

digital motion x-ray

I already had an MRI and X-Rays… why do I need a DMX?

As we mentioned before, regular static x-rays and MRI’s usually don’t have the ability to show the underlying cause of chronic pain (ligament damage). Typically, an MRI just shows disc problems. Since a Digital Motion X-ray actually shows the person moving, the chronic soft tissue injuries are easier to visualize.

When will I get my Results?

You can expect to download your results immediately after the x-ray is completed, along with an official report. Included in this report will be an analysis of the exam findings and information about diagnoses and future medical care. Both of these things are important for healthcare professionals to make decisions about your treatment.

Are DMX’s Good for my Case?

Absolutely. Since this x-ray is designed to view the full extent of your joint instability, it is extremely beneficial to have it on record so people can see that there’s proof of the injury. A DMX is also helpful for documenting conditions that may have serious negative effects if they aren’t diagnosed correctly such as:

  • Cervical Instability
  • Spinal Instability
  • Peripheral Joint Instability

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