Not everyone needs x-rays or other diagnostic imaging. Depending on the mode of onset, duration, and severity of your symptoms, your chiropractor may order some type of diagnostic imaging to help determine a diagnosis and course of treatment.
X-rays are commonly used as a starting point because they are quick, easy, and inexpensive. X-rays do, however, have limitations. While x-rays are great for viewing the alignment of your bones, they do not show soft tissues.
An MRI or CT scan are possible options that can give more information to your doctor if they suspect a soft tissue problem that can't be see on an x-ray, such as a herntiated disc in the spine, torn rotator cuff in the shoulder, torn cartilage or ligaments in the knee or other joints, among other problems.
Still other imaging techniques are available such as ultrasound or discogram if your doctor suspects any specific problems based on your history and examination.
Talk with your doctor to see what kind of imaging, if any, you may need.