Often times when a patient presents with a really bad spine condition, they wonder what happened. I hear things like..."I've never had any problems with my back...are you sure those are my x-rays?"
Why is this? Well...most degenerative conditions develop silently. A heart attack is usually the first symptom of heart disease..35% of the time a fatal one. By the time cancer is detectable it is usually life threatening.
And, so it goes with degenerative diseases of the spine...most of the degenerative process occurs silently...leading to conditions such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and disc herniation.
So how do I prevent these diseases from developing? The best thing you can do is try to maintain a healthy context (internal and external environment). Most diseases are an adaptation to an unhealthy context (lifestyle). The food you eat, the amount of exercise you get, the amount of stress you expose yourself to, the amount of alcohol you drink, the amount of sleep you get, etc. All of which are controlled by you.
Sure, you can still get sick if you have a healthy lifestyle...but it just decreases the odds dramatically...and you feel so much better too. Life has more meaning...and is just more fun when you can get out and do things...especially when you get older.
So..I guess the moral of the story is...you should have your spine checked on an ongoing basis even when you are feeling good. Just like you should eat right, workout, and do all the other things that make up a healthy context...even when you are feeling good. It's a lot easier to stay well than to get well. And remember...disease is silent. You can't expect to ignore your health and not have to pay the price.
Life is like a cafeteria...you can have whatever you want...and they always put the deserts first...but at the end of the line there's someone there to collect. So do the smart thing...you only have one body...and one spine...take good care of it.