Finding the cause of your injury

Whether you are a high performance athlete or a weekend warrior, movement dysfunction can strike at any time.  This term is used often by professionals in the rehabilitation setting, but what exactly does it mean?  Movement dysfunction is a broad term that can describe any change in the way a person normally moves.  It can be caused by neurological, psychological, emotional or physical trauma, or disease.

So why should an athlete or active person care about pre season/activity screening?  Simple – because it can help to find a person’s movement dysfunction.  First off, screening can be used as a predictor of future pain and injury.  Muscle imbalances and strength deficits are often uncovered when using these screens, and these may be signs of pain or injury.  Second, therapists can use their knowledge of testing joints and joint movement in a pre-season/activity screen, which can be helpful to identify any decreased range of motion that a client may have.  This type of movement dysfunction can affect strength and power, or make a person’s movements feel restricted.

How do these movement screens work? Athletes are asked to perform common movements that occur in sport (and life), and their movements are observed in order to determine if there is movement dysfunction or muscle group dysfunction.  One of the most popular movement screens is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), introduced by Gray Cook, which is used to observe integral movements in sport/activity.

Can movement dysfunction be improved?  In most cases, yes!  Your rehabilitation professional uses careful observation, combined with their expertise in anatomy and exercise techniques, to determine what specific muscles, tendons, connective tissues, and joints are contributing to your movement dysfunction.  From there they build a plan to get you back on track.  It sounds quite simple, but here’s a poorly kept secret: it’s really complicated! 

Our bodies are complicated machines.  We do not use just one muscle to perform a movement, but we have several groups of muscles (called synergists) that work together to create movement. These muscles work together seamlessly to produce our everyday movements.  However, our daily habits, lifestyle, activities, and previous injury or pain can change how our synergists work together.  This leads to some muscles in our bodies working overtime, and some not doing much. Using a squat as an example, the quadriceps are a group of muscles that like to work overtime, and sometimes they will take over and dominate the squat movement.  What happens to all the other muscles in the squat group of synergists?  Well, they become a little lazy because they know they do not have to work so hard.  As rehabilitation specialists we process the results of your movement screens and strive to determine which of the hundreds of muscles and muscle synergists are out of balance.  Then, we can determine the best course of action to help you make a positive change.

Now, none of this may sound too concerning to you.  However, imagine having one slightly flat tire on your car and driving on it for 2 years, or even 3, 4, or 10.  What would that do to your car?  The weight of the car would shift onto the flat tire and create unequal pressures on the other tires.  Eventually, the tires would have uneven wear and tear patterns and the car itself might have some creaky parts from all of those uneven miles.  Most people are good at keeping their tire pressures even, or having their car serviced and rotating their tires to make sure this does not happen.  Most people do not drive on a flat tire for years and leave it to wreak havoc on the car.  Too bad we do not treat our bodies as good as our cars!

Often times when people come into the clinic they describe their pain being years in the making: “I noticed it a while back and figured it would just go away or sort itself out”. Does this sound like you?  Now imagine all the changes that have happened in a human body over 2, 3, 4, or 10 years.  Fixing it is not as easy as fixing a car! The first sign of a “niggling” pain/injury is a sign that something is not working in your human body machine.

Like your car,  your body deserves to have regular maintenance and care.  Especially if there is more wear and tear on it than the average person (if you are an athlete or active person, or have a physically demanding job).  That is where a screen, performed by a rehabilitation professional, can come in handy.  Therapists will examine all of the important synergists that are important to your particular movement/sport/activity to see if there is flat tire hiding.  That way we can help you correct it to avoid future pain and creaking in your joints!

At the Athlete Centre, we have several therapists that are certified to perform the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), as well as one therapist who is TPI certified (Titleist Performance Institute) who specializes in golf specific movement dysfunctions.

Get your body in to The Athlete Centre for a tune up!

For more information on movement or health screens take a look at these sites:

Functional Movement Screens: https://www.functionalmovement.com

Titlest Performance Institute: http://www.mytpi.com/certification/about

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