DMX is a medical break-through to objectively demonstrate the functional loss caused by impaired joints of the spine due to permanent ligament damage. DMX is the best objective test because normal MRI testing is primarily concerned with static imaging of intervertebral discs and nerves, not ligaments, and there are no discs in the upper cervical spine. DMX is also used as a screening tool when performing proton density MRI and functional kMRI imaging, which are capable of showing injuries to some of the individual spinal ligaments.
Many times injury victims hurt when they move due to spinal instability caused by traumatic ligament injuries. Most plain film x-rays and recumbent MRI imaging cannot detect the true cause of the pain or the full extent of the injuries, which can only be revealed by DMX showing the abnormal function of the joints in motion. Many of the same principles followed by radiologists and chiropractic doctors in reading plain film x-rays are also followed in reading DMX motion x-rays.
DMX is much improved technology over traditional plain film x-rays by demonstrating spinal instability due to abnormal joint motion caused by ligament damage. At its heart DMX is still a simple x-ray, however, it works with a video camera to take 30 individual x-ray frames per second to create a motion x-ray that lasts approximately 90 seconds. The video images are made as the patient’s head is moved through nine ranges of motion in a normal, weight-bearing posture, thereby providing an assessment of all 22 major cervical ligaments. This results in about 3,000 individual x-ray images that can be viewed on a computer monitor, freeze framed, zoomed in or out, or viewed in slow motion. The individual images that best show the damage can be saved as static x-ray images by the reviewing doctor, and then analyzed using x-ray digitization software.
While the ligaments themselves are not shown on the x-ray images, the effect of injured ligaments can be ascertained by abnormal movement of the spinal vertebral bodies in relation to each other. An analogy is to watch leaves blowing in a tree, where we cannot see the wind, but we can see the effect of the wind. Likewise, even though we cannot see the cervical ligaments, we can see the results of ligamentous injuries by abnormal movement of the vertebral bodies, which is easily observed by anyone trained in musculoskeletal radiology using standard radiology practices.
Who has approved the use of DMX?
The use of DMX was approved for patients with spinal and peripheral joint disorders by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services in 2003, the National Guideline Clearing House (a governmental agency that works with the American Medical Association and the health insurance industry), the American Chiropractic Association Council on Diagnostic Imaging Physicians, the Arkansas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Arkansas Chiropractic Society; and its use endorse by Pain Management, A Practical Guide For Clinicians by the American Academy of Pain Management, Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and further supported by a large number of peer reviewed medical articles published in Spine and other medical journals.
The widespread acceptance of DMX is also shown by being at the top of the list of five approved imaging methods, ahead of MRI and CT imaging, for a Medicare documentation requirement to establish a spinal subluxation diagnosis for a patient before a chiropractic physician can be paid for treatment by Medicare.
Other benefits of DMX
There are other benefits of DMX in addition to showing function of the cervical spine through motion testing. DMX images have an enhancing effect by showing the cortical margins of the bones in black. In other words, in a digital x-ray of an egg, the shell of the egg appears black, and the contents are grey. This allows the interpreting physician to detect compression fractures, which are occasionally missed by traditional x-ray. Plain film x-rays do not show some fractures as well because the cortical margins are displayed as white, and the body of the bone is also shown as white, thus detecting abnormalities is harder when looking at a white on white image on plain x-ray. Another benefit is that DMX testing only subjects the patient to a low dosage of radiation because it uses a low powered pediatric type x-ray machine, which is good for imaging necks, temporomandibular joints, and extremity joints; but does not have enough radiation power to image the low back unless the patient is a child or small adult person.