Form Follows Function - Why Function Matters

Form Follows Function

It’s a well-known saying in the exercise world – you can’t change what you don’t measure. Most of us are used to keeping track of a number of health-related metrics, from our blood pressure to our mile time or bench press max. Yet very few of us even consider measuring the range of motion and function in our bodies, and this is a critical oversight that prevents us from seeing the full picture of our health.

If your muscles and joints can’t easily move through a full range of motion and normal function, you could be doing just as much damage long-term to your body as you would be doing to your heart and blood vessels if you had untreated high blood pressure.

If you’ve never had your body’s mobility evaluated by a musculoskeletal specialist, you could be setting yourself up for disaster down the line. You may be completely unaware of mobility issues you’re dealing with, or be chalking it up to “tight hamstrings” or maybe a family history of bad shoulders. The truth is that mobility issues can cause chronic pain, nerve damage, and a range of other adverse effects if left untreated.

Knowledge of where you’re at and what specific challenges you face starts with testing and measuring your function. The tests below can be performed easily at home and can give you a clue as to how your body is moving and whether you should consider seeking treatment for mobility and musculoskeletal issues. Failing any of the below tests means that you’re not moving properly and should be seen by a professional for evaluation and treatment.

Straight Leg Raise (SLR).

This test measures the range of motion of the hip and the health of the muscles and nerves of the low back and hamstring. This includes the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body and a common culprit of low back and hip pain. To perform this test:

1 – Lie on your back with legs extended

2- Keeping your knee straight but muscles relaxed, have a friend lift your leg, hinging at the hip to raise the foot, aiming to get the leg perpendicular to the floor (90 degrees).

A healthy hip and leg will easily raise to 90 degrees with a mild stretch through the hamstring. Pain, constriction, pinching or intense pulling indicates a problem.

Supine Hip Flexion (SHF)

Another test used to check hip joint and low back function, this one also starts with lying on the back with legs extended. One by one, bend a knee and, interlacing hands behind the thigh, try and pull the knee and thigh to touch the bottom of your ribcage. This should take minimal effort and be pain free. Pain or pinching in the hip flexor, hip joint or low back indicates a failed test.

Shoulder Abduction 

This test measures range of motion in the shoulder joint as well as the health of the rotator cuff and shoulder cartilage. Anyone who regularly lifts or throws overhead should regularly perform this test to ensure their long-term shoulder health isn’t being compromised. Stand facing a mirror with hands at your sides and head straight. With palms facing up, raise both arms straight out to the side and overhead in a big arc. Try and have your palms meet overhead with your biceps touching your ears. This movement should be uniformly easy throughout the arc, and pain free.

If you experienced pain during any of these tests and were unable to achieve the full range of motion, Dr. Mike is here to help you. If you’re experiencing pain or limited mobility in an area of the body not described above, there’s a test and help out there for you as well. Dr. Mike at Karma Chiropractic is an expert in diagnosing and treating mobility issues throughout the entire body. Call him at 347-841-6076 to schedule your evaluation today.Call us at 347 841 6076 or visit us at karmachiropractic.com today to get started.