Faulty movement is one of the most common causes of pain. This is why physical therapy uses analysis of movement as a key in determining why patients have pain. Many people have pain that develops over time. There is no specific event or injury they can point out as to when and why the pain started rather it is something that started as more of a minor issue that over time got worse and worse.
There are other times that the pain does happen suddenly like when playing a sport and spraining an ankle or a knee. In these instances, there could be no contact with someone on the opposing team and still, the injury happens.
These two examples are both considered noncontact injuries, whereas the opposite, a contact injury, occurs when there is contact with another person such as an awkward tackle in football. Movement analysis in physical therapy is used primarily to help determine the cause of non-contact injuries.
What Is the Importance in Physical Therapy?
Analyzing someone’s walking, running and squatting are three ways to analyze movement and why people experience pain. By using video analysis techniques we are able to help identify faulty movement patterns that contribute to pain.
A good analogy of why movement is so important to analyze and how it contributes to pain is through the analogy of vehicle alignment.
One of the routine things we do to ensure our cars drive properly is having the alignment done regularly. If you don’t do this regularly the car will develop a tendency to pull in one direction more than the other. This causes more force to be placed on one side of the car’s tires and the tires will wear out on that side quicker than the other. If this continues for a long time then it can ruin a pair of tires.
Your body absorbs wear and tear with use, just like the car in the example above. For example, suppose someone has a tight and inflexible hip in one leg. Any time they move there is potential for them to walk, run or squat asymmetrically. If this continues for a long period of time that asymmetric loading of one leg will cause wear and tear on the other leg. In fact, the asymmetry is likely to cause knee pain in the opposite knee.
How Physical Therapists Use Movement Analysis
In the example above, where you feel the symptom is not the problem. A physical therapist uses movement analysis to determine that the problem is the hip. If you treat the hip, then you fix the cause of the knee pain. As a result, the knee will no longer hurt.
Combining video movement analysis with a thorough measure of strength and range of motion of the joints surrounding the pain, a well-trained and experienced physical therapist can understand why a patient is having pain. They can then prescribe the appropriate treatment plan to help solve the problem and get the patient pain-free.