Poll: Have you ever been told to "turn your head" before you cough during a physical?
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View poll results: Have you ever been told to "turn your head" before you cough during a physical?
16 48%
17 52%
Voters: 33.
So I recently got a full physical at a MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) because I'm joining the military. One of the things they do is the infamous "turn your head and cough" procedure. I have gotten plenty of these physicals, but I dont understand why everyone says they make you "turn your head and cough" because I have never once been told to turn my head, I have just been told to cough.

My question to you is, have you ever had to turn your head, or do they just tell you to cough?

Also, I understand why they feel on your genitals, they're checking for bumps that could be cancerous. But why do they make you cough, what exactly are they trying to feel?
Last edited by NoBC14 at Nov 14, 2008,
dont your testicles tighten up when you cough? it may make it work better if your head is turned and it restricts the airflow.

dunno for sure.. i just know in marching band (i play mellophone) and i have to tighten up really hard to hit a incredibly high note it makes my balls hurt from pushing air so hard.
I've never even been told to cough. And my doctor asked if she could... check for bumps, but I said no.
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Part One: Why the cough?
When you cough, a vibration will run down your spine. Based on how this vibration gets transmitted down to the base of your spine, which is what the doctor is touching underneath your testicles, will indicate whether or not you have a herniated disc in your spine.

Part Two: Why must I turn my head?
I've heard two explanations for this. One is that the twisting of your neck will tighten up your spine and improve the accuracy of the doctor's diagnosis. I call this the practical explanation. I've also heard a more utilitarian explanation: do you think the doctor really needs you to cough on him? No, thus you are asked to turn away from him before coughing.

Copypasta from http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=826809, I don't claim to be the author of this.
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They are checking for a hernia.
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They are checking for a hernia.


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Yeah, they do that to check for hernias. Seriously though, why is THAT the part that bothered you the most? I think "Bend over and spread 'em" was much more horrifying than having my genitals inspected.

EDIT: What branch are you entering?
I definitely didnt say it was the most uncomfortable part, it just made me think about it.

Air Force, I want to get into the space program.
Ok, here's the explanation: You turn your head because the doctor doesn't want you to cough on him/her and feel your breath on their face. I find this pretty hard to say, and feel bad when I ask my patients to do it. And you cough because it creates more pressure in your abdomen, which makes hernias palpable (if there is one, of course). 'k?
If you had a hernia, would you want to see the doctor sticking his fingers into you?
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