Back Your Inner Athlete with the Functional Movement Screen
The World Health Organisation has identified physical inactivity as being a leading risk factor for global mortality with an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally. Being active has many benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer and depression. The risk of fracture due to bone weakening can be reduced, and good evidence suggests that movement can benefit non-specific low back pain.
Being active is good, but NOT all movement is good for us. Bad posture, faulty biomechanics, genetics, weak or over active muscles can all contribute to dysfunction in the body, then putting stress on the spine when we move.
So how do we know when our body isn’t functioning properly? The functional movement screen (FMS) is a series of exercises to identify restrictions and irregularities that may be causing someone’s pain. A recent systematic review revealed a person scoring less than 14 on the FMS scale was almost 3 times more likely to sustain an injury. The good news, YOU can do these tests at home! We have chosen 3 self screens for you to do at home; the hurdle step, seated rotation and the active straight leg raise tests. These exercises will give you an idea of your ankle and hip stability, balance as well as leg and back flexibility and mobility.
There are three possible outcomes from the test,
1. Pass - If you pass well done! You have demonstrated proper function.
2. Fail - One simple thing you can do is practice the tests. If the tests don’t change here are three exercises you can do to improve your tests. Try these for 1 week. If you still can’t pass the tests, come in and we’ll check you out for FREE!
3. Pain - If you experience pain on any test it is important to get assessed by your chiropractor.
All you need is:
> Door frame
> Pole (broomstick or mop for example)
3 Self Functional Movement Screening tests.
1. The first test is the hurdle step test. It involves placing a piece of tape across the door frame just below knee level. With the pole resting on your shoulders and standing with your toes under the tape, lift one leg over the tape and tap that heel on the ground. Return the leg over the tape and repeat with the other leg. You pass if all 3 criteria are met; (1) the hip, knee and ankle are all aligned; (2) there is little spine movement; (3) the pole doesn’t sway or touch the door frame
3. The third and final test is the active straight leg raise. It involves lying down in the door frame positioned halfway between the hip and the knee with arms straight out, like a cross. Lift your leg straight up with toes pointed toward your head going as far as you can. A pass is given if (1) your ankle bone clears the door frame; (2) the toes stay up and the knees stay straight; (3) the opposite foot stays on the ground.
Correction 2. Single leg stance- lift one leg up and push it on the door frame. Make sure the hip of the standing leg isn’t dropped and hold the position until mild fatigue. Once you have mastered the first exercise, try taking the knee off the door frame and balancing in the middle of the door frame. You can use your hands lightly against the door frame if you have problems balancing. High quality evidence suggests that balancing exercises can significantly reduce falls in the elderly.
Correction 3. Exercise number three is to increase thoracic rotation. Begin on your knees with knees spread and sitting back. With your hand on your head, push your elbow down and then through your body, then all the way back. Repeat slow repetitions 10-15 times.
If pain is caused by any of these exercises it is important to get properly assessed by your chiropractor.
Dr Cameron Rennie
Bonazza NA, Smuin D, Onks CA, Silvis ML, Dhawan A. Reliability, Validity, and Injury Predictive Value of the Functional Movement Screen A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016 Apr 29:0363546516641937.
WHO; 2016; Health Topics: Physical Activity; URL: http://www.who.int/topics/physical_activity/en/; date accessed: 24/05/2016; updated: Feb 2014