Evaluating Movement using the Functional Movement Screen What It Is and Why It Matters
A common story that I hear from my patients goes something like this: “I’ve started going to the gym, but lately my back has been stiff, and now I’ve got this pain going from my hip to my knee. I’m scared to go back.
I thought exercise was supposed to help!” Whether you’re just starting an exercise program or thinking about challenging yourself with something new, you don’t need to suffer like this. There is a better way! Functional Movement Screening is a system of evaluating and grading movement, that can identify your body’s weak links and help you plot a course from where you are to where you want to be.
Picture a toddler learning to walk. From a deep squat, she leans forward, pushes up and starts tottering forward until she loses balance and plops on her bottom. She has no problem with flexibility but she does lack control (stability). This control develops naturally, through trial and error, as she moves. She learns to walk, then run, and before you know it, she’s kicking a soccer ball. Similarly, an effective exercise program will help you develop sufficient flexibility first, then stability, followed by strength. When you jump straight to lifting weights or kicking a soccer ball but lack sufficient flexibility or stability, something is going to give.
It helps if you think of your body as a computer. Your muscles, ligaments and joints can be thought of as your body’s hardware. How your brain and nerves communicate and store information about movement is your body’s software. In fact, we refer to common movement patterns as motor programs. When you ride a bicycle, throw a ball or swing a golf club, you are using a motor program. You don’t have to think about each specific movement or which muscles to contract in which order. Your brain accesses that file and executes it automatically.
The problem arises when injuries, even minor ones, occur. Pain corrupts the data from your body’s sensors for position sense (proprioception), and your software’s communication becomes garbled. When this happens, you develop compensations in your posture and movement which lead to fatigue, muscle soreness and more injuries.
When you come to us with pain or an injury, we treat you with chiropractic adjustments, muscle work and therapies. The adjustment not only relieves the pain, but it “reboots the computer,” and normalizes your body’s proprioceptive nerve signals. Once you are pain free, we use Functional Movement Screening to evaluate your ability to perform a set of seven basic movements. Your score indicates any limitations or compensations you may have and your readiness to proceed with exercise. Then, we teach you specific, targeted exercises to help you correct your weak links and get you back on the road to training for your favorite sport or activity.
With Functional Movement Screening you can get back to exercise with confidence. Remember, it’s a journey. Where do you want to go?