Ok, I’ve finally gotten over the pain of watching England getting beaten by South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final earlier this month to post this.

In this blog post, I would like to introduce the concept of a Functional Screen. We've been working on bringing this to the clinic for a while. Now I'm pleased to introduce this – and it's good timing in relation to rugby.

So what do we mean by functional screen, and how does this relate to rugby?

Well, the honest answer is it doesn't just relate to rugby. The functional screen is relevant for anyone, but in essence, the concept is this…

"Move Well, Move Often"

Catchy, right? But what does that actually mean?

The easiest way to explain this is to go right back to the start of the process – the ASSESSMENT.

Generally speaking, when you come to people like us (Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, etc.), it is because something hurts. So we find out what is hurting, fix it, and ta-da you feel better!

The only problem is this: it doesn't always explain the WHY? Why did my back "go" picking up a bit of paper? Why did my hamstring tear when I went for a run I have done loads of times before? Why did I wake up with my neck locked up?

This is where a Functional Movement Screen comes into its own. They're a full-body screen where we are looking at how you move and quantify this based on guidelines.

We test for movements you can't do. Then we test further to work out why.

Generally speaking, this comes down to two main issues:

1) Is it a Mobility problem? In other words, the tissues/structures aren't moving enough, or

2) Is it a Stability problem? You haven't got the strength in that area to allow you to move normally.

Once we can ascertain which it is, we can start to draw a picture of how your body is moving and most, importantly, WHY it is moving that way. We can then begin to correct these issues with the aim of not only eliminating pain but also PREVENTING injuries from occurring.

Let me give you a simple example:

You bend forward, and your back "goes". Was your back really the issue? Or was it that you have tight hips from sitting at a desk 8 hours a day.

Or was it that you have a tight upper back from the same thing, so you try and move to much from your lower back and that's why. Or are your core muscles weak, and that's why? Or is it all of the above?

This is what the screen can tell us, and once we know the cause we can work towards a long-term fix.

So coming back to rugby, how does this work in sport?

Well, it is becoming huge as players being injured costs money and can alter the result of matches or a team's success over a season or tournament. Now there are certain injuries we can't prevent, such as a broken rib from a big tackle, but we can go a long way to preventing non-traumatic injuries such as torn hamstrings or Achilles issues. This is why more and more medical teams are becoming a massive part of how teams train and how much they prepare, as well as working with the strength and conditioning coaches to correct the individual's weaknesses.

Now I have focussed on injury prevention as otherwise, I will bore you all to tears, but it is also about performance (more on that next time!)

Fundamentally, the key message from today's article is we can all MOVE BETTER and therefore FEEL BETTER!

And perhaps play a little better than England did!

Sam