In a previous post, we briefly discussed selective functional movement assessments. One request I receive quite frequently is to go in-depth about what movement assessments are and how they are beneficial to patients.
Movement assessment is a cornerstone of the examination process that we utilize on almost every patient we see. It is a tool to determine any limitations that the patient has by taking a snapshot of general movement patterns. Simply put, we are looking at flexion (bending), extension, how well the patient is able to squat (if at all), rotation throughout the thoracolumbar spine (torso), and dorsiflexion (how well the ankles can move).
We do this movement assessment in combination with our typical orthopedic or neurological exams to determine where the patient has any limitations. These limitations could be the underlying cause of many problems the patient is experiencing. For instance, a patient who comes in with low back pain can go through these movement assessment screens to determine if there is an area of limitation or a deficiency that could be contributing to or actually causing the problem.
Most importantly, the movement assessment combined with the exam gives us the information we need to create an effective roadmap. Many times, practitioners, therapists, chiropractors, and doctors assume they know what the issue is by looking at the patient. If they see someone that is experiencing low back pain, they tend to treat them like all the other patients with the same problem. Not only is that inefficient, but it is ineffective as well.
As mentioned before, where a patient is feeling pain doesn’t necessarily indicate the underlying cause of the pain. If we screen the patient properly, we may end up revealing that the low back pain is actually being caused by a lack of mobility in the mid back and hips. In another patient, the cause may be limited rotation in the ankles or a squatting deficiency.
Because we have devised a roadmap, we can figure out exactly how to attack the areas that are causing the patient’s problem. The first goal is to work towards restoring mobility and full range of motion. After that is done, we can move onto improving stability. (Since motion is restored first, it will make us more efficient once we move onto stability training.)
Selective functional movement assessments are not only a good diagnostic tool—they can even be used to prevent issues from arising. We work with golfers in this region with our Swing-Fit program. Patients in Swing-Fit will come in with no problems, but instead seek ways to improve their performance and prevent injuries. We utilize these same assessment tools to create a roadmap that improves flexibility and prevents any potential problems from occurring. There are many simple daily tasks that take less than ten minutes, but prevent significant injuries later down the line.
Since we implemented selective functional movement assessments around three and a half years ago, it has changed the way we treat and examine patients. We now have a broader picture that allows us to provide a greater level of treatment. It has also had a marked change on how patents respond to the care they are given.
To learn more about how movement assessments allow us to create an effective roadmap for treatment, contact us today or give us a call at (918) 743-3737.