In our last two newsletters we discussed both prehabilitation and then rehabilitation to help you make it through an injury.  Now let’s take a look at your overall motion and make sure you are moving well.  

There are many different screening methods that have been utilized during various medical evaluations, team tryouts, combines or sports training camps.  The evaluators of these screens take different information from them that may lead to a score of overall functioning, readiness to return to sport, or comparison to others athleticism.  Seeing the good in some of these evaluations and the areas that were lacking, Grey Cook and Lee Burton, developed the Functional Movement Screen, or FMS, to simplify and quantify one’s ability to move through basic fundamental motions that could be used as a standard assessment.  

The FMS is a screening tool used to evaluate movement.  This screen can be performed on any age or physical capability (modifications are an option if needed).  The FMS takes one through 7 motions and 4 clearing tests to evaluate basic movement patterns.  These tests evaluate ones’ ability to maintain balance in different positions, change centre of mass, move from 2-leg motions to 1-leg motions, evaluate core strength and some flexibility.  In addition, there are a few screening tests looking for pain.  At the end you get a score out of 21.  I have used FMS on several patients and yet to see a score higher than 16.  A reasonable score to achieve is 14/21, but if you score higher, even better.  A score of 14 means you are able to do all the motions with either a little modification or slight incorrect alignment.  The real achievement comes from improving your overall score when tested again following corrective exercises.  

When a motion is being learned, we often learn via steps, or the multiple movements required when the main motion is broken down into several parts.  If we use the example of a baby learning to walk, we know that the baby just doesn’t get up and walk right away.  The first step is rolling over.  After developing core, leg and arm strength, then the baby attempts the quadriped position, on hands and knees.  And this progresses to 2-legged kneeling, l-legged kneeling and then pulling up to a standing position once all the strength, balance and co-ordination have been conquered.  Then they walk.  As you can see, there were multiple steps here to be achieved.  When we address any new movement, whether new sport (archery) or hobby (knitting), we need to do the same thing in order to develop the fundamental movements to perform this new activity accurately.  The FMS allows us to identify the movements that need work and corrective exercise is the tool we use to allow us to apply this principle to some fundamental movement patterns that are used in everyday motions.  

A certified FMS provider will understand the movement patterns that were scored low and how they can be applied to your specific sport or activity.  For correction, we can provide you with a breakdown of movements that you can work on to achieve a better overall motion.  In the deep squat, for example, it is not entirely about the motion of bringing your butt below your knees, but it is more about the fact that you are changing your centre of mass while maintaining balance which requires adequate ankle, knee and hip mobility in the lower part of the body.  Also adequate shoulder and spine mobility is needed with excellent core strength to help in maintaining balance.  With just one of these joints immobile, the deep squat will be scored low because the motion will not be adequate.  Perhaps, just working on your ankle mobility, will be the key link to allowing you to perform better on the deep squat.  

The goal with corrective exercise, is to work on specific parts of the movement pattern that will help you achieve better results on the overall movement.  And achieving a better movement, will help in either your sport performance and maybe even by preventing injury.   What we don’t want to do is reinforce a bad movement.  Again, if we use the example of the deep squat with poor ankle mobility when we add weight to this bad movement, we aren’t going to achieve anything.  Maybe we can physically add even more weight, making one think that we are improving our performance, but really, the only thing being achieved is a “better bad movement”.  We reinforced the bad movement pattern.  Now, it will take a bit more effort to correct.  

Let’s recap what we have touched upon in this final issue on movement.  Corrective exercise is used following a movement screen.  The screen may identify an area of pain, which would need to be further evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.  When no pain is present, a score will be achieved based on the ability to perform the movements within the screen.  Corrective exercises will be provided for those movements that were not adequate in order to move better so you can perform better, and prevent injury.  If you are not progressing in your workouts the way you would like or continually have the same injury over and over again, then there is something missing.  Book in for a Functional Movement Screen at MMD Chiropractic and we can begin your road to moving well and moving often.