Spring into Action

The seasons often portray a particular emotion, or overshadowing mood. Spring, to me, is always a time of great action and new beginnings. The trees begin to bud, flowers slowly blossom, geese return to the warm weather, seasonal cleaning, reorganization, and outdoor activities greatly increase. The warm weather often creates inside of us a desire to be active, to run, jump, play, and participate in physical activities we might not normally. Are you prepared for this increase in activity? Are you moving well? Do you have significant mobility limitations you should improve? Do you have an underlying stability problem you are unaware of? Are you living with irritating pain after certain activities? Are there things you should work on to increase your resilience to injury? As a physical therapist, I treat people everyday who can no longer participate in their desired activity because they have been handcuffed by significant amounts of pain. I propose that you seek assessment and treatment earlier. In this article, I’d like to challenge your thought process regarding injury, movement, and fitness.

Are you prepared? Let’s take a minute here to think about the preparation and maintenance we perform in areas of our life other than physical movement. We maintain good dental health by brushing and flossing daily and receiving dentist cleanings every 6 months. We regularly perform oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotations on our vehicles.  We receive screens for cancer, heart conditions, and general health. If we don’t do these things our teeth decay faster and we have dental issues, the car runs less efficiently and breakdowns occur sooner, tires wear more quickly and unevenly, and cancer, heart conditions, and diseases become harder to treat if not discovered in the early stages.

Should we not also think this way in regards to our physical movement? The irritating and recurrent pain or discomfort should be like the warning light for low tire pressure or low oil level. It indicates caution, you may continue, but know that you are operating at below recommended level and it’s only going to get worse. Far too often, we ignore the warning light and the pain becomes unbearable and unmanageable, and the check engine light appears. You should not continue driving the car or the body, but immediately seek necessary assessment and treatment. If you continue pushing through the pain or dysfunction, you are begging for more serious or permanent damage. This is often when we seek treatment for our pain, either when it’s unbearable or we experience a tear or more serious injury.

Let’s consider another option. Seeking professional screening and assessment before we embark on increased physical activity or at the first warning light, when pain is barely noticeable. Just as we have found early detection to be so important in treating various diseases, early detection of movement deficiencies can provide important information in exercise prescription and activity modification.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS), developed by physical therapist Gray Cook, determines competency in basic functional movement patterns, uncomplicated by skill of movement or pain. This screen can be administered by trained fitness professionals and simply rates deficiencies in movement patterns, mobility, stability, and asymmetries. This provides incredibly valuable information to a person before initiating an exercise regimen, a sport season, or just increasing physical activity.  You deserve to know how well you move and how to maximize your movement competency before attempting to increase strength, speed, agility, or endurance.

Upon completing the screen, the fitness or medical professional can discuss the objective findings and the subjective implications affecting your movement. You will then understand your movement weaknesses and strengths. You will be given corrective exercises, if applicable, to improve your deficiencies in functional movement. This empowers you. This provides you objective information and guidelines for movement optimization.  This places you in the driver’s seat of your movement health to take proactive steps in avoiding painful movement and unnecessary injury.

Take control of your movement health today and spring into action more safely, with a better understanding of your movement competency. See an FMS certified professional today.  For more general information about Functional Movement System, visit www.functionalmovement.com.


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