Performing Regular Physical Inspections

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Nobody knows your body better than you do.

While your body is often quick to alert you to something going wrong, sometimes little signals can get lost in translation. Maybe there’s a particular way you’ve moved your arms or legs that causes pain, but you don’t perform that movement often enough to notice. Maybe certain foods cause strange reactions, but you only eat them once in a while. The obvious solution to bodily concerns is to speak with your primary care physician, but not everyone has the time (or money) to do that more than once or twice a year. As such, it’s a good idea to learn how to monitor your own body, at least on a basic level.

Let me offer a quick clarification: what I’m describing here is not body checking. Body checking is when you inspect your appearance to a mildly obsessive degree, such as staring at a mirror for long stretches or measuring your muscles with a tape measure. That’s a bad habit, and won’t do you any favors. Rather, what I’m describing here is a sort of inspection of your body’s basic motor functions, to be conducted every once in a while, just to make sure nothing strange is going on.

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Stand up and try stretching out all of your extremities. Perform a few squats to gauge your legs, rotate your shoulders to open up your chest, and flex your fingers in a smooth motion. If any of this causes any pain or discomfort, you might be suffering from some stiffness or soreness. Using your fingers, gently probe and press your skin around the area where you felt discomfort. If any of those presses cause discomfort, you might be exercising that area too hard, sitting or sleeping on it improperly, or any number of potential quirks. The good news is that if your presses are causing surface-level pain, that means there’s nothing internally wrong with you; it’s just some muscular discomfort.

If you’re feeling pain somewhere and are fairly certain it’s not surface level, you may have an underlying problem. In this case, you might want to go see your doctor, just to make sure it’s nothing serious.