The use of X ray technology has changed dramatically over the past 25 years and new technologies are allowing doctors to not only diagnose internal illnesses and injuries, but enabling them to treat them as well.
History of the X Ray
X Ray technology has been around since 1895 when Rector Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen first developed the ability to take pictures of bones under the skin by using radiation. As scientists and doctors learned how to better control the level of radiation, and direct it’s energy, they’ve developed equipment that has changed the face of medicine.
X rays are used in all of the following ways:
- dental x rays for detecting cavaties
- detecting broken bones and fractures
- detecting anomalies in organs such as the lungs
Early dosages of radiation from X-ray machines would have been considered extremely dangerous by today’s standards. But now with the advent of low dose radiation, patients and healthcare professionals have little to fear from radiation exposure. Although radiation exposure from medical procedures is up in the U.S. since 2006, this is due to the high number of procedures involving medical grade radiation. CT Scans, and radiation therapy are a large part of this.
Modern Uses of Radiation to Treat
In more recent years, radiation is used not only in the detection and elimination of certain types of cancers, but also in the treatment of the pain from these cancers. Radiation can be used to shrink tumors that can cause significant pain to patients. This can be especially effective when tumor growth interferes with bones, organs, or nerve tissues.
Bone cancer is one type of cancer that can cause extreme pain. Doctors often recommend patients undergo radiation therapy to help relieve this pain.
Additionally, secondary bone cancer can weaken bones, causing them to become brittle. Radiation therapy helps to strengthen bones, and reduce pain levels for the patient. These procedures are carried out by a radiological technologist under the direction of a physician.
This type of therapy not only reduces pain, but can also slow down the spread of the disease to other bones in the body. However, radiation therapy is not a cure for cancer, it is generally used to extend a patients life while improving their quality of life.
Often times that is what pain treatment is all about. Controlling pain with radiation is intended to allow a patient to enjoy their remaining days of life, rather than suffering through terrible pain until their final days. You can read more about using radiation therapy to control pain at the CancerReasearchUK website.