Annual Health Checkup Should Include Spine Health Assessment

Your annual health exam should include evaluation of spinal health for many reasons. From posture to a nerve supply to our head, hands, feet, and everything in between, our vertebral column and interior spinal cord affect many aspects of our physical and mental health. This underappreciated region deserves an annual health checkup just like other parts of the body. Chiropractic physicians are the best doctors to perform this type of evaluation. Patients interested in their best health should include annual chiropractic evaluation and treatment.

Why Seeing A Chiropractor Is Important

An annual physical examination at the office of an internist, general practitioner, or other medical doctor largely ignores the spine. If ordered, bloodwork such as a CBC or Chem-Panel does not reflect problems such as subluxation in the spine. Back pain may warrant an x-ray, but even an x-ray will only show gross abnormalities. It will not demonstrate the presence of small misalignments and acute inflammation, muscle spasms, nerve impingement, or the start of ligament damage. Treatable if detected early, posture issues — such as anterior head carriage leading to spinal degeneration — deserve care. To achieve this level of care, visit a vertebral specialist — the chiropractic physician.  

Vertebrae protect the spinal column and nerves as they exit the vertebral foramen, which are the small lateral spaces between the bones that comprise our backbone. Additionally, the spine supports our posture and serves as an attachment point for many muscles and ligaments. Damage and injury to our vertebral column affects a large number of critical functions, yet the health of this vital connective pathway is virtually overlooked in the standard annual checkup unless pain prompts evaluation. Left untreated, problems in the spine can foster poor health elsewhere in the body and affect the entire person. Small aches and pains in the back frequently indicate localized inflammation that is a precursor to joint destruction and nerve irritation.  

A licensed chiropractor, like a chiropractor in Chapel Hill, NC, is well-trained to evaluate spinal health and keep this vital region functioning at its best. Having your spine checked at least once a year will benefit you on many levels. If you engage in heavy work or other physical activities such as running, golf, tennis, or yoga, your backbone, ligaments, and muscles may need extra attention. Many people choose rigorous exercise to improve their health, but exercising when spinal misalignment and other health problems exist can impede healing.  

Contributing Factors to Pain

Anterior head posture problems from intense computer or cell phone usage provoke pain and inflammation in the head and neck, contributing to issues in these critical areas. Sometimes vertebral misalignment and inflammation are due to posture changes related to pregnancy or large breast size. Changes can be slow to notice, and ignoring the pain can build up to cause degenerative changes in the spine that can have devastating effects if left untreated. The chiropractic exam will locate areas of vertebral subluxation before problems result.

Issues related to vertebral misalignment include local inflammation and pain, as well as local muscle spasms. Problems such as shoulder pain, headaches, and hip arthritis frequently refer to the backbone. Include chiropractic care as part of your annual checkup to make sure your back gets the attention it needs to keep you healthy and pain-free.

Thanks to the Acupractic Natural Healing Center for their insight into the importance of including a spine health assessment in a yearly checkup.

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