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Many clients and athletes come out of physiotherapy/chiropractic care with the idea that they will be able to return back to their "normal" training programs without the need for modifications. In some cases this may be true, but in the majority of cases this statement is probably false. How can you be sure that you are 100% safe to return back to your activity or training program following an injury? One of the best ways to ensure that you are ready to enter back into your training program is to have a baseline measure which you can go back to in order to determine whether you are back to your "pre-injury baseline values".

The sporting world has been following this protocol for concussions for quite sometime with their SCAT-2 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2) which is used by Athletic Therapists at the start of the season. This tool is beneficial as it allows the therapist to see if the athlete is able to replicate a similar score prior to allowing the athlete to enter back into the game. But how can we apply this to the way our body moves following a musculoskeletal injury. The simple answer is to have a baseline score which we can compare the athlete to prior to allowing them to return back to their activity or training session. Seems too easy to be true but is this possible....

An excellent tool which has been developed by Physiotherapists Grey Cook and Lee Burton (as well as several other colleagues) is the Functional Movement System (FMS). This screening system allows you to address the "quality of movement in the client by providing them with a numerical score on seven different functional movements". One of the great features of this screening process is that it allows the therapist/trainer/coach an opportunity to quantify each movement and therefore create a baseline numerical score for each client. From this baseline score, the trainer can develop a customizable training program to "address the weakest link in the client’s movement" but also re-screen the client throughout the program, following a break in training or after an injury in order to determine where the client is at from a movement perspective. For example, if the client is compensating around the injured body part, the FMS will highlight this compensation and likely result in a lower score than what was achieved pre-injury. As a result, there are likely modifications which the client should be doing in their program in order to eliminate this compensatory movement pattern and therefore bring them back to the quality of movement which was present prior to the injury If you have not had the opportunity to have an FMS, please contact us to learn more about the service and locations where you can have the FMS completed.

Brian Shackel, MSc