The why, how and what of this ‘holy grail’ of assessments. Have you had yours? If not, why not? Top 10 reasons why a biomechanical assessment is so important:
You only get one body and you need to take care of it so it takes care of you!
Knowledge is powerful stuff.
Painful or uncomfortable movement does not need to be your normal.
Inefficient movement patterns can have painful short and long-term consequences on your biomechanics.
Fear avoidance can actually increase your pain and cause other biomechanical issues. I have heard many people say things like ‘no, I don’t bend at the knees because it is too painful’, only for them to end up with hip and lower back problems too.
Ignorance is not bliss and finding out that your surgical procedure could have been avoided with early detection is devastating, for you and your family.
Prevention is always better than rehabilitation (and far cheaper).
You have bones, joints, muscles and connective tissue and it is unacceptable not to be able to move the way nature intended (confidently and pain-free).
Life expectancy keeps increasing and science hasn’t yet worked out how to keep you alive without your valuable body (do you want to be a head in a jar anyway?). It is all down to quality of a long life.
It’s your body and your responsibility….as they say, use it or lose it!
Okay, so what is it?
A biomechanical assessment is a critical analysis of your body and all of its moving parts. Yes, your whole musculoskeletal system from your toes to your nose. Your body as it exists and moves today is an accumulation and direct reflection of your physical history. Your history includes both the genetic building blocks you were born with and the many years of both simple and complex movement patterns. Over time movement is influenced by many factors including lifestyle, occupation, recreation, diet, sleep, injuries, pain, fear.…and the list goes on! A biomechanical assessment is like a snapshot of exactly where you are today.
How and what is assessed:
During your biomechanical assessment, your physio will have a discussion with you to find out what aches or pains you may be having, what your medical or injury history looks like, and what your goals are. From there, your physio will watch you move, sit, stand, reach, twist or do whatever your body needs to do to accomplish your daily tasks in an effort put together a framework of your movement. This assessment allows your physio to understand what body parts and tissues are moving too much and what’s not moving enough, what’s tight and what’s loose, and what’s strong and what’s weak in order to create a comprehensive report and develop an action plan for you.
When is the best time to have a biomechanical assessment?
The best time to perform a full biomechanical assessment is when there’s no acute injury, pain or swelling. Performing a toes to nose assessment during the acute phase of any injury is not recommended because protective motor responses may mean that biomechanical dysfunctions are a defence of the nervous system rather than a problem of the anatomy. Over time protective motor responses can become learned habits to avoid what the body sees as a potential harmful situation and cause problems but during the acute phase this is very difficult to determine. It is best to wait until any acute injuries are dealt with and you are feeling what you would consider your normal.
Who should have a biomechanical assessment?
In short, everyone. We should all be armed with the basic knowledge of how our own individual body works and what we can do to keep it working at its best throughout our lifetime. More specifically anyone with niggles and or long-term pain or discomfort. This is the stuff we are really good at addressing and correcting with a biomechanical assessment. Just remember a little nagging deficiency or inefficiency in one area of your body that goes unaddressed for a long period of time can have disastrous effects on not only your physical but also your mental health. They can also wreak havoc in other areas of your body. For example, tightness in the ankle can cause the body to not take load bearing very well. In and of itself, the ankle tightness is not a big deal - until it causes too much stress on the hip, which leads to overuse. Down the road, you end up with a tear or arthritis in the hip.