If you are a new chiropractic patient, there are several initial tests that you can expect your chiropractor to perform. In addition to collecting a detailed family and personal medical history, you will likely receive a detailed physical exam to identify any potential issues which should include a spinal and postural screening.
A spinal and postural screening is a test conducted by your chiropractor that can help identify neuromusculoskeletal disorders before any serious issues arise. This test can find spinal alignment and postural positioning that hasn’t presented with an actual problem yet, but if left untreated, may cause chronic conditions in the neck or back.
Our bodies are meant to have all portions of the torso balanced. This means that our heads, necks, shoulders, rib cage, spine, abdominal cavity, and pelvis must all be in proper alignment to function at our highest level. When one of these systems is out of alignment, it can have a cascading effect on the rest of our body. When we aren’t in proper alignment, it’s generally the spine that compensates and bends to accommodate our positioning which places additional stress on the spine and surrounding tissues. Over time, poor positioning can lead to spinal injuries or disease. Some of these diseases include:
- Herniated disc
- Strained, sprained or pulled muscles
- Sports injuries
- Chronic headaches
- Neck or back pain
- Shoulder injuries
Furthermore, poor positioning in our adolescent years has a correlation with the progression of arthritis and chronic pain in adulthood. This means that young adults or children may also benefit from receiving a spinal and postural screening from a licensed chiropractor.
The actual screening process occurs in two parts. The first part is the static screening which looks at potential issues while the patient is not moving. The chiropractor will assess several factors including pelvic tilt, elevation posture and rotation posture.
The second part is the dynamic screening which looks for alignment issues while the patient is moving. This helps to identify how the body compensates for weight in the body while it shifts positions. Improper positioning or poor posture can be determined if a patient favors one leg over the other or if the patient is holding their body in an unnatural position. Maintaining this poor positioning can lead to issues over time.
The dynamic screening has patients perform several moves for the evaluation. These moves include:
- Standing on one leg
- Attempting a push-up
- Standing up from a seated position and then returning to the seat.
- Raising your hands above your head
Your chiropractor will also measure your legs and arms to ensure that they are the same length or to identify the reason for any differences. Your head position will also be evaluated. Poor head position often causes neck and upper back or shoulder issues.
At the completion of your screening, your chiropractor will discuss your results. Patients often find that their chiropractor has identified issues that were bothering them as well as several they hadn’t yet noticed. If you have questions about any of these conditions, be sure to discuss them with your chiropractor.
Finally, after you have discussed some of the issues or conditions that you may have, your chiropractor will help you develop a personalized treatment plan. Many plans include spinal manipulation or adjustments, massage, and exercises.
Spinal manipulation will help to restore your spine and joints to their proper positioning, while massage and exercise helps the muscles maintain proper positioning.
A chiropractor’s priority is to ensure that you receive the appropriate care to help you live your best life. Through initial screenings and evaluations, they can quickly identify any issues and execute the best plan for you. If you think that chiropractic care is an option for you, please contact your chiropractor today to set up your initial consultation.