A movement screen, also known as a functional movement screen (FMS), is a tool used by physical therapists to analyze movement and mobility patterns to get a better sense of a patient’s strengths and deficits. But what exactly do physical therapists look for during these screens, and how are they conducted? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog on functional movement screens.
The Basics Of A Functional Movement Screen
Movement screens are simple tests that help a therapist create part of their baseline assessment for a patient. There isn’t a standard test that everyone is put through, rather, your PT will ask you to perform certain movements based on the areas they want to analyze. For example, if you’re dealing with a lower body issue, your physical therapist may ask you to walk towards them and away from them in a straight line, to bend over and pick an object off the ground, to stand and balance on one leg and to get into a squat position and hold it for three seconds. If you’re dealing with neck pain, your PT may have you turn your neck to each side or lift your arms and chin to see how your neck responds. There are countless ways to perform movement screens based on what biomechanics are being analyzed.
We touched on this a bit in the intro, but functional movement screens are used for a variety of reasons, include:
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses
- Identifying issues or ruling out potential problems
- Ensuring a patient is ready and capable to perform a specific exercise routine
- Identifying imbalances or asymmetries
- Spotting sport-specific deficiencies (for athletic improvement)
Movement screens help to establish a baseline for your physical capabilities so that the physical therapist can understand how to best help you reach your movement goals. After surgery, a movement screen may be conducted to develop the perfect physical therapy routine based on your current capabilities. When an athlete comes into our clinic looking for a movement screen, we may be able to analyze their running gait or their pitching mechanics to look for deficiencies to ideal movement. We can then tweak their form and help shave seconds off their mile time or add miles per hour to their fastball.
Also, it’s worth noting that functional movement screens aren’t always conducted by simply having your physical therapist watch you perform certain moves. They have a trained eye and can spot a number of deficiencies that may not seem out of the ordinary to a normal person, but we also like to use technology to take these screens to the next level. We have a number of advanced tools that can use motion capture technology to assess the minute movements of your joints so that we know exactly how your body is responding while in motion. These technological tools can ensure that small details aren’t missed and that the PT program that is developed for you is based on your individual needs.
Contact a Physical Therapist
So if you have been bothered by soreness or pain, or you want to take your game to the next level, consider coming into our clinic and letting one of our physical therapists put you through a simple functional movement screen. We’ll look for strengths and deficiencies and help you improve your physical function. For more information or for help with any physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.