Skip to content

Who Has the Better Spine?

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet a lovely couple that came into our office for their first appointments. They both have the same job, where they are putting a lot of strain on their necks and backs. They each have their own pains and health goals for which I will be walking alongside them, but after we took the x-ray images, I was amused at the question they gave me:

“So, who has the worse back?”

I don’t like to get into a comparison contest, for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn’t really have a useful purpose. I get the idea of being curious about who might be at a better or worse starting point and who has had more wear and tear on the spine. But as far as looking at your spine and meeting your goals, comparing yourself to others doesn’t really do any good.

Additionally, while the x-ray pictures are important, they’re not the only metric for spine health. For example, what if someone had x-ray images that suggested a healthier spine than someone else, but the muscles around the spine are a lot more tense? In that different metric, the patient with the healthier spine on x-rays would actually have a less healthy spine musculature. (Not to mention if there are any other diseases or conditions like a stress fracture that wouldn’t show up on x-ray.)

Instead of comparing your back to another patient or your spouse or your peers, you should compare your back today to how your back was yesterday. And if you are taking steps in the positive direction, that’s all you can control. Even if you’re taking small steps in the right direction, eventually you’ll look back and see that you have made great progress!

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.