The functional movement assessment test is a screening tool used by chiropractors in evaluating seven crucial movement patterns in individuals experiencing no pain or who don’t have a musculoskeletal injury. It’s not intended to diagnose orthopedic issues. Instead, it helps demonstrate opportunities for improved movement in people, specifically designed to place a person in extreme positions where movement deficits become easily noticeable when adequate stability and mobility aren’t used.
Although individuals perform activities or sports at a high level, it’s been observed that most of these people have limited movement—leading to the use of compensatory actions to achieve and maintain the performance levels required for each particular activity. The lack of use of compensation during each movement often leads to poor biomechanics, limiting gains in performance while reducing a person’s body ability to remain adaptable and durable against the different risks present in various physical activities and sports.
A chiropractor will let you undergo the following movement patterns:
This movement challenges one’s whole body mechanics and neuromuscular control—where chiropractors use it to test the bilateral, symmetrical, and functional mobility and stability of the hips down to the ankles.
This movement pattern is a crucial part of ‘normal’ locomotion and acceleration, challenging a person’s step and stride mechanics while testing their ability to hold the ‘single-leg’ stance. It requires the bilateral control of one’s hips, knees, and ankles while challenging the pelvis and core function.
The inline lunge movement puts the body in a specific position stimulating the ‘stresses’ during lateral movements. It puts a person’s lower extremities in a ‘split’ stance while the upper part of the body is in an opposite pattern, replicating the natural counterbalance of the body’s upper and lower extremities used to complement one another. Additionally, it challenges the mobility and stability of the hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
The shoulder mobility pattern demonstrates the body’s scapular and thoracic region’s natural rhythm, consisting of the thoracic spine and rib cage during opposite upper-extremity shoulder movements. It also observes the bilateral shoulder range of motion.
Active Straight Leg Raise
This movement pattern identifies flexed hips’ active mobility while looking at the movement’s core stability and the alternate hip extension. It’s the appraisal of the ability to separate a person’s lower extremities in a challenging and unloaded position. It also challenges one’s ability to dissociate the lower extremities while maintaining full control over their pelvis and core.
Trunk Stability Pushup
Chiropractors often use this movement pattern as a ‘basic’ observation of one’s reflex core stabilization—measuring the control over the upper body and not its strength. Essentially, the trunk stability pushup pattern’s goal is to initiate ‘movement’ with the upper extremities in a pushup action without allowing any movement from their spine and hips. It tests a person’s ability to stabilize their spinal cord in the sagittal plane during an upper-body symmetrical movement.
The most ‘complicated’ movement pattern in all the actions patients must do is the rotary stability pattern. It requires a person to properly coordinate the energy transfer from their neuromuscular system to the torso. It observes the ‘control’ of several areas, including the multiplane pelvis, core, and shoulder girdles, during combined upper and lower extremity movements.
Regardless of your conditions, most professionals will ask patients to perform the seven movement patterns mentioned to give a thorough assessment of their health and wellness.
Functional Movement Assessment Scoring Criteria
The functional movement assessment test uses a simple grading system—where each ‘individual’ movement pattern utilizes specific criteria of their own that patients need to accomplish to obtain a high score.
The functional movement assessment scoring is broken down into four ‘basic’ criteria, including:
Three – This score is given if the individual can perform most of the movements without any compensations according to the established criteria.
Two – This is given when the person can perform most movements but needs to use ‘poor’ mechanics and more manageable compensatory patterns to accomplish the whole movement.
One – This scoring is provided when an individual can’t perform any movement patterns, even with the compensatory movements.
Zero – This is the lowing rating possible and is given when the individual experiences mild to severe pain during any part of the movements.
Within the functional movement assessment screening, there’s an algorithm or procedure for addressing any restrictions and asymmetries discovered in the process, allowing professionals to identify and prioritize any deficient movement patterns quickly. After they’ve identified the movement pattern, it will enable them to make accurate interventions using correct exercises.
If a patient doesn’t have areas of concern, they would be cleared to train and load the movement patterns, providing an adequate movement baseline for additional physical capacity and performance testing. However, if an individual does have pain during the screening process, they’ll usually get referred to a healthcare professional for Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). It’s a total body diagnostic system that can determine the cause of the patient’s pain, not just the source.
Using Functional Movement Assessment Screening
Ideally, it’s best to use the functional movement assessment test as a pre-placement or pre-participation examination to determine deficits a person may have that may have gotten ‘overlooked’ during conventional medical and performance evaluations. Unstable muscle flexibility, strength imbalances due to previous injuries, chronic conditions like arthritis, or temporary ones like sciatica are all acknowledged as significant risk factors for injury.
In most cases, the screening test can pinpoint these issues better than conventional tests—identifying functional deficits related to a person’s proprioceptive, mobility, and stability limitations. When the test identifies any risk factor, a chiropractor can help decrease potential injuries and improve physical performance. Additionally, professionals use the functional movement assessment tests to re-screen for feedback every 4 to 6 weeks or when an improvement becomes noticeable in the priority movement pattern. In essence, it gives feedback on the effectiveness of the current program design, providing in-depth insight if the person can now move to a higher level progression or take a new movement pattern.
Whether you’re experiencing back pain, headaches, or have scoliosis, Beard Family Chiropractic dedicates itself to supporting you in your journey toward achieving optimal health and wellness. We are one of the most trusted and established chiropractic in Conway, offering thorough functional movement assessment screenings to create treatment plans best for each patient—ensuring you get the care you deserve
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