It is time to bridge the gap between healthcare and fitness.

Healthcare costs in this country have skyrocketed to epidemic proportions. Due to conditions such as Diabetes, Total Joint Replacements, Osteoarthritis and Back pain, there are billions of taxpayer’s dollars being wasted every year. What if we can help these conditions from occurring at such an exponential rate? With the guidance of health care professionals (HCP) such as Chiropractors, Physical Therapist and Medical Doctors, exercise in conjunction with manual therapy can now be a modality to help manage and prevent injuries.

When an individual is discharged from Physical Therapy or from traditional Chiropractic care, there are still issues that need to be addressed. For example, an ankle that was fixed by the HCP has improved, but who is going to help with the knee, hip and lower back that has been compensating for weeks? That individual has now developed both mobility and stability problems while losing optimal movement.

By using the joint-by-joint approach developed by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook, we can begin to restore function and allow the body to move how it was supposed to move. This approach looks at the joints that build from the ground up that alternates between stable joints and mobile joints. It is summarized as followed:

So how do we know where the problem lies? We Screen. We Assess.

Screening movement patterns can be one of the best indicators of potential injury. Using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and other movement assessments, we can better understand how someone moves. The most vital indicators for an injury are previous injuries and asymmetries. The FMS is able to demonstrate dysfunctional movement patterns and show that “repetitive microtrauma caused by adoption of inefficient movement strategies may predispose individuals to musculoskeletal injury” (Chorba, 2010).

So how do we fix the problem? We correct. We build.

Whenever we lose function in one of these joints, the body will find mobility or stability in other joints. This causes compensations and makes the body move in ways it was not supposed to move. With the implementation of manual therapy and mobility exercises, we can restore mobility back to mobile joints. And by adding in functional training we can now add stability back to stable joints. Someone cannot simply focus on one or the other because the body moves as a whole and the joints build off each other.

No one can prevent all injuries from occurring. However, with the correct assessments, training and modalities, the hope is that repetitive injuries can be corrected before they occur. This has the potential to dramatically reduce healthcare costs. One study showed 433 firefighters who were prescreened with the FMS to predict injury, and a core program was implemented. The results showed that “The intervention reduced lost time due to injuries by 62% and the number of injuries by 42% over a twelve month period” (Peate et. al, 2007).

Patient health and wellness has several different components. In the health field, the goal for health professionals should be to join as a team to help out the patient/client. However the health care professional cannot take care of every problem. The personal trainer at the local gym cannot either. It is important to seek out individuals in the healthcare community who understand injuries and can communicate with HCP’s. Working together with knowledge and education, we can begin to bridge the gap between healthcare and fitness.

Chorba, R., Chorba, D., Bouillon, L., Overmyer, C., & Landis, J. Use of a Functional Movement Screening Tool to Determine Injury Risk in Female Collegiate Athletes N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Jun; 5(2): 47–54.

Peate, WF., Bates, G., Lunda, K., Francis, S., & Bellamy, K. Core strength: A new model for injury prediction and prevention J Occup Med Toxicol. 2007; 2: 3.