Functional Movement For Injury

When you see the words ‘functional movement’, what do you think of?

People’s initial thought is probably to generalize this as being basic movements you complete in daily life, squats or deadlifts in the gym or sports related movement, right? When you see the words ‘functional movement for injury’, does it change your process of thought? Would you start to think this relates more to pre-habilitative/rehabilitative exercise modalities? Either way, there is no right or wrong. Although, when you do sustain an injury, your routine of exercise/physical activity changes as like your bodily movement does and you begin to compensate with movements that are more comfortable for yourself which is not entirely ideal.

This blog will briefly touch on the basis of understanding movement and compensatory patterns associated with injury which in turn can improve rehabilitation outcomes.

Following an injury, or when experiencing pain, movement alters.

This compensation has been shown to further increase injury risk, of which these factors are modifiable.

So where do we begin?

Well first you need to understand that when i say the word ‘movement’ im referring to flexion, extension and/or rotation of your body and this movement occurs in either the frontal plane, sagittal plane or transverse plane (i’ll let you research what this means).

How good should you be able to move (flex, extend and/or rotate) and in which direction?

Well that depends on your active vs passive range of motion (i’ll let you research what this means). Your range of motion when injured tends to reduce and because this reduction occurs, we compensate to adjust ourselves from the feeling of discomfort [guarding against pain when sustaining an injury is also included in this]. When this occurs, your body starts neurologically developing movement patterns of the compensatory movements you are repeatedly performing and that becomes your new normal, meaning, when adjusted to perform ‘correct movement’ again, it can be off putting.

Have a question?

An example of a rotational compensatory movement which i, myself, is neurologically patterned to do is when im at my desk completing admin/office work on my computer. Everytime i go to lean on my desk, I will almost always lean on my left elbow. Meaning, my spine is very comfortable performing internal rotation through my mid back to my left side. So when I go to do corrective movement to stay in alignment, I struggle, am weak and have restriction during external rotation of my mid spine from the left. This fix is a work in progress, considering i probably developed and became comfortable with this compensatory movement years ago, back when I was completing my studies! So you can imagine that it’ll take some time and patience to adjust myself back into moving correctly for me.

What could you do to help identify this?

Be more aware of these types of movements and your posture when at rest, performing your daily activities and exercising. Seeing an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to identify and assess your posture and movement patterns is always going to benefit you.

Be proactive, and realize that your structure is not your fate. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

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