Monthly Archives: March 2014

Annual Musculoskeletal Exam

You go to the dentist for check-ups and cleaning every six months.

I bet he’d rather be seeing his physical therapist!

The doctor sees you for an annual physical.

You see the eye doctor for an annual check up.

So why not see your physical therapist for an annual musculoskeletal health exam?

Here are a few startling statistics:

  • we lose .5%-1% of our muscle mass per year after the age of 30.
  • nerve conduction velocity decreases by 1m/s every 10 years
  • testosterone levels decline about one percent a year after age 30.  Growth hormone levels begin to decrease after the age of 20.

These are just a few examples of normal age related physiological changes.  The direct result is a decrease in strength and power with age.  Over time this can manifest itself as poor balance, poor movement ability, difficulty getting out of a chair or bed, limited endurance, and the list could go on and on.  These declines in performance can also lead to injuries and musculoskeletal problems over time which will lead to a further decline in performance.  The vicious cycle is in full swing now!

There is no way to stop these changes from happening, but we can certainly work to slow them down through smart exercise, nutritional strategies, proper recovery, etc.  The exercise component is where we come in.

Here is what this annual musculoskeletal exam would consist of:

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a battery of 7 screens to determine movement competency – or how well you move.  The FMS has been shown in the research to be highly predictive of injury in athletics and in the military.  We can’t necessarily pin point what the injury will be, but we do know that the wheels are much more likely to come off at some point.

The FMS is being used in all the major sports, in the military, and even at the NFL combine to look at injury risk and prediction in these populations.  The beauty of the screen is twofold:  1)  ability to identify poor movement patterns, and then apply corrective exercises to improve competency within these patterns thereby reducing future injury risk; 2)  ability to identify acceptable movement, and create exercise programs to further strengthen and add capacity to these patterns.

The Y Balance Test looks at single limb balance, strength, and motor control.  Right to left symmetry and poor reach distance are both predictors in injury.  The Y Balance test is a great way to evaluate both, and to compare scores to peers in the same sport or activity level.  There is also an upper body Y Balance test for shoulder stability which is a great way to test overhead athletes.  Depending on your sport, one or both of these tests would be appropriate.

Power Output is a measure of work over time.  In other words, how much work can you get done in the shortest amount of time.  Athletic measures of power include the vertical jump, standing broad jump, and medicine ball throws.  There are other measures that could be used as well depending on your chosen sport(s) or activities, goals, age, etc.  For older adults it may be as simple as how quickly one can get up off the floor and walk a certain distance.

There are certainly other things that could be assessed and measured including strength,  balance, and endurance but those will be specific to each individual case.

When all the testing has been completed, a report is generated using the Move2Perform software providing a movement and injury risk baseline.

This report also helps to generate a program to specifically address the identified needs.  The program would address movement deficiencies through corrective exercises, and also include options for strength training, power production, cardiovascular conditioning, and more.

Follow up appointments are an option to track progress throughout the year and increase the intensity of the program as needed.  Or if you just need a few pointers to get started, we’ll see you again next year.

Give us a call at 231 421-5802312231 590-1364 or shoot me an email:  joe@elitepttc.com for more information including how to get started.