At Agape we pride ourselves on taking a more functional approach to healthcare, often called functional medicine. Looking at the patient as a whole and taking into account other aspects of health will often lead to faster and longer lasting recovery. Aristotles believed the same stating “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Many aspects of health appear to be normal when viewed in isolation. However, when the entire person is examined and all systems are reviewed a clearer picture can be appreciated, and values which appeared normal at first will become obviously abnormal.
For our patients whom have a musculoskeletal, or neuromuscular injury or concern, we not only asses the specific structures that could be injured such as a shoulder but also the surrounding structures. Our first concern is to asses and treat the area which is injured and causing the patient to experience the symptom of pain. Notice we said the symptom of pain, pain is a mechanism used by the body to make the person aware there is a problem. However, not all injured areas manifest pain. Further, the pain experienced may be far away from the actual injury. Pain is a highly subjective experience. Thus, pain is not the most reliable measure of injury or sickness. It is an inaccurate assumption that if pain is not present than a problem does not exist. Back to the shoulder example, once the pain is under control the next step is to assess the functionality of the shoulder and equally important is investigating how the shoulder interacts with the surrounding joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
Functional Movement Screening (FMS) is how we at Agape are able to gauge our patient’s musculoskeletal and neuromuscular health. This is a system we use not only to detect injury, but also help guide our physiotherapy treatments. Retesting allows us to track patient progress, and informs us when the patient is no longer at risk for injury or re-injury allowing for an appropriate discharge. The FMS is appropriate for new patients, patients who have a high risk job such as police officers, fire fighters etc., and athletes in addition to their normal pre-participation physical.