Stay At The Top Of Your Game With An Annual Physical and Wellness Visit

Doctor and patient at well visit

When thinking about physicals, most people probably think about sports physicals. But that’s just one kind of physical. An annual wellness physical is not sport related, but it’s still important to maintaining your health. We’ll go over the two types of physicals and discuss why each is important. 

What Is An Annual Physical Exam?

This type of appointment centers around checking a patient’s physical health. Typically, standard vitals will be collected, such as measurements for height and weight and checking blood pressure and breathing. Additional diagnostic testing might be conducted if a patient has known medical conditions or a family history of specific diseases. Other standard tests that are completed during a physical exam include checking the head and neck, abdomen, and nervous system. A patient might also have reflexes checked and undergo blood draws or provide a urine sample.

Sports Physicals

Sports physicals are an integral part to the health and safety of the athlete, and are a requirement for participation in most school sporting activities.  Sports physicals ensure the athlete is healthy enough to participate in the desired sport, and looks to identify any underlying conditions that may prevent the athlete from performing safely.  If detected early, many of these conditions can be treated, allowing the athlete to safely return to sport.  At Wilmington Health, we can perform your sports physical and refer you to our Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Specialists as needed. 

In our Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine department, we provide surgical and non-surgical care to patients with injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. This includes fracture care, treatment of injuries of the muscles, joints, tendons, and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis.  Our Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine team offers comprehensive care at our four orthopaedic locations serving Wilmington, Porters Neck, Leland, and Jacksonville. 

For acute injuries requiring urgent care, consider our services at Today’s Care Plus1 located at 1202 Medical Center Drive. At Today’s Care Plus our goal is to support patients in avoiding the long waits and higher costs of the ER. We can see and treat all typical ortho-related ailments, including acute injuries, sprains, and fractures.

Annual Wellness Physicals For Pediatrics and Seniors

A wellness visit will also review a patient’s medical and family history and confirm essential health metrics such as weight, height, and blood pressure. But these types of visits focus less on general physical exams and instead prioritize making adjustments to prescriptions or scheduling future exams or preventive screenings. For example, a physician may recommend prescription drug alternatives such as a generic version during a wellness visit, which could save a patient money. Similarly, a physician may perform cognitive wellness screenings or focus on mental health concerns.

Annual wellness visits are an important factor in staying healthy from an early age. We recommend annual checkups for Pediatric and Senior patients to monitor their health as they age. The annual visits help in detecting and preventing more serious conditions, tracking annual tests and vaccines needed for school, and discussing health habits and lifestyle choices. Plus, it’s a great way to build a trusting relationship with your provider, so you feel more comfortable and cared for.  

Benefits Of Wellness Visits:

  • Early detection of health conditions 
  • Prevention and health promotion
  • Relationship building with your provider 
  • Medication review and management
  • Lifestyle counseling
  • Mental health screening 
  • Personalized health recommendations

What are the differences between the two visits?

Physical exams and wellness visits are similar, but there is a distinction. Wellness visits usually lack the core aspects of a thorough physical. Instead, they focus on the basic vitals such as height, weight, and blood pressure. Plus, the two appointments are treated differently by insurers. Specifically for Medicare subscribers, an annual wellness visit is fully covered through the benefits program. In contrast, a physical exam is usually covered through private insurance but not by Medicare.

Do patients need both?

Before deciding whether or not an annual physical exam is needed, patients should speak with a primary care provider. A Wilmington Health physician can provide an informed recommendation based on your medical history.

So, whether you’re getting ready to suit up for your school’s team or just want to keep your health on track, Wilmington Health can help. Schedule your wellness appointment today.