What Does it Mean if My X-rays are Negative After an Injury?

Trusted Content

Legally reviewed by:

Erik Abrahamson, J.D. April 02, 2019

Were your x-rays negative after an injury? In this post you will learn about the most common diagnoses and what a negative x-ray can mean.

My X-rays are Negative Does that Mean I'm not Injured

When you’ve been involved in an accident, whether it’s a car accident or a slip and fall, it’s very important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Your doctor should run tests to determine whether you’ve been injured. One of the first tests that a doctor will perform is an x-ray. Your x-ray may come back negative and not show injury.

However, some injuries don’t appear on x-rays alone. Car accidents especially can lead to hidden damage and injuries that are not always immediately apparent.

If you’re still having pain or you believe you’ve been injured, there are other tests that a doctor should run to determine whether you’ve been injured. 

Common Diagnostic Tests

Generally speaking, a doctor will order an x-ray first to determine if there are any obvious injuries.

An x-ray can rule out things like larger broken bones, dislocated joints, or some other internal injuries. There are other tests that should also be performed including:

  • CT Scan (computed tomography scan)—a CT scan produces an x-ray image but can be used to create detailed images of bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. A CT scan creates more detailed images than an x-ray. Sometimes a doctor will order a CT scan with contrast which means that you will drink a dye in order to make the images more pronounced. CT scans are used to show internal bleeding, damage to organs, and smaller broken bones. If you have possible head trauma or trauma to your internal organs, a doctor will likely order a CT scan.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)—an MRI works by using a magnetic field and radio wave pulses to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Patients are usually placed inside an enclosed tube for several minutes while images are taken. MRIs can show injuries that other tests can’t because of the detail of the images. For example, for neck and back injuries an MRI can be used to determine whether you have herniated or bulging discs. Cartilage and muscular tears can also be shown with an MRI.

Contact a Trusted Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall, you should get in touch with an experienced and trusted personal injury attorney.

The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping the injured, and they’re here to help you. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 today to schedule your free consultation.