A Mechanical Assessment?
Being a chiropractor, our focus is primarily on the musculoskeletal system (joints, soft tissues, etc). So what do I mean by mechanical? Well let’s think of the body as a machine with gears (there are other parts, but I’m no mechanic). The gears represent the joints of the spine and extremities (shoulder, hips, knee, elbow, etc). For a machine to work correctly we need the gears to move smoothly and correctly, just like in the body. If we want our spine and extremities to move in full range of motion, we need the joints to move like they are supposed to.
When we perform a mechanical assessment, we are looking at your body's global range of motion and the joint motion. Now we may not check the entire body, but we check what we think could be contributing to your pain or complaint. Each joint has its necessary range of motion that it should move in, so when we find a restriction of movement, we dive in further to see if that restriction is causing the pain or complaint.
Repeated movements is one way we assess this, we want to see if a certain direction of motion repeatedly can help. So here is a quick example of how this would go. Let’s say a person has low back pain with radiating (shooting pain) symptoms down their leg. Following whatever other tests we do, we take them through a mechanical assessment. Their history and other questions we ask them do play a role, but for now let's focus on the assessment part. We find that they have pain with radiation down their leg with low back flexion (bending and have a restriction going into low back extension. We would mark where their pain is (0/10 scale) and mark how far they can move. Now we take them through a repeated motion of extension for 10 repetitions. We can do this laying down or standing up, either way the goal is to get them into low back extension. Following the 10 repetitions, we recheck their baselines (the pain and range of motion), if it is better we know we are moving in the right direction. If it is worse, then we may be moving in the wrong direction, so then we would check another direction or motion. The awesome thing is, this assessment can work for different parts of the body, even elbows or toes!
Why is this an assessment in our office? For one thing, we can send this patient home with this specific movement to help keep pain decreased and continue to work on their motion in between visits.
Interested in how this works? Experiencing back pain, neck pain or any other discomfort? Give us a call! We’d love to help you. Call, email, or message us through our website for more information!