A quick run-down on how manual medicine therapists have tested and looked for dysfunction.
This book came out and it showed us how to test individual muscles. It was great, because now we could pinpoint specific muscles that weren't working right, and zoom in our approach there. It gave us a picture of the neurology of that muscle, and let us see if there were possible upstream (brain, spinal cord, and nerve) problems causing the muscle problem, causing the problem that the person came into your office for.
After testing muscles, we test a patient's balance. Can you touch your finger to your nose? Now do it with your eyes closed.
What about that track athlete who runs hurtles, who is getting left pain in her lower back, has been strength tested, gotten her strength back, built up a core, been to the massage therapist to work out muscle knots, and she is still getting pain?
Now, and this is new, let's look at movement. What is the difference between looking at muscular strength, balance, and a movement? Simply, testing a "movement" is testing all of the above. It is not just looking at muscle strength and balance, but the body's ability to create a symphony of action to create a fluid movement. This is no simple task. And, this is different than individualized tests — although testing a muscle's strength is a great way to start.
Well, had lost the ability to rotate at the hip, and was compensating above and below this joint. Relearning how to turn at her hip — not her back! — has been described as "weird. It's like it just won't move." Well, now she has relearned that movement, and now her pain is almost all gone.
Testing movement is exciting because results are immediate, and relearning lost movement patterns is easy. We're not building muscle here, we're building neuronal connections and timing with the brain and body that has been lost. The brain learns quick.
If you have something that hasn't responded to everything else, you might want to consider your body's ability to move. Have you lost the ability to use your shoulder the way it should, and mal-adapted biomechanics keep causing that aching shoulder pain? Maybe. It's worth a shot.