Let me start by saying, that almost everyone has some degree of functional movement disorder, they just don’t know it. If you want to know more about functional movement disorder such as:

  • What functional movement disorder is
  • The symptoms of functional movement disorder 
  • What breathing has to do with functional movement
  • And what is the best treatment for functional movement disorder 

Then I suggest you keep reading!

What is Functional Movement Disorder 

To understand functional movement disorder you need to know what functional movement is. Functional movement is movement performed by the muscles in our body according to the natural design. You see, every muscle is shaped differently, has a different thickness, different bony attachments, muscles fibers running is different directions, have different neural pathways and most importantly have different jobs and timing of movement. 

These different muscles work together to perform movement at a certain joint, then multiple joints work simultaneously to do an activity such as walking. Do you know the one thing all the different muscles in your body have in common?… They are all controlled by the Central Nervous System, and receive the command to perform movement from the Brain (keep this in mind for later)! So basically, functional movement is movement performed according to the natural “blueprint of movement” that is hardwired into our brains! 

How do we know what the contents of this blue print are? Well, every baby around the world, with the exception of some congenital defects, starts with no body control, but around 3 months of age starts to develop movement following the same movement development pattern from lifting the head during tummy time, to rolling over, crawling, standing, and eventually walking! So we don’t have to guess what the correct way to move is, we know! This is also referred to as Developmental Kinesiology.

With all that being said, functional movement disorder or dysfunctional movement is any deviation from this natural design. This can be a result from old injuries that were not rehabbed properly, chronic or overuse injuries, bad posture, bad ergonomics, and sedentary lifestyle factors. Let’s discuss what this can look like in the section below. 

Symptoms of Functional Movement Disorder

So you want to know if you have functional movement disorder? If you have conditions such as stenosis, or scoliosis, you are predisposed to developing dysfunctional movement if you are not actively doing something to combat it. If you sit behind a desk typing for 8+ hours a day, you likely have or are slowly developing dysfunctional movement, because this kind of sedentary lifestyle requires your body to deviate from what it is naturally designed to do, which is to move!

The symptoms of dysfunctional movement can be endless and you can most certainly have dysfunctional movement disorder and not know it because you don’t have any obvious symptoms. If you are moving dysfunctionally, overtime, you will develop different stress injuries from your body either fighting the dysfunction in attempt to correct the movement, or giving into the dysfunction. For example if your knee collapses inward every time you walk you will either end up with a pain on the outside part of your knee or hip from your body subconsciously attempting to bring you back into neutral, or without a fight or correction the inside of the knee will have some wear and tear.

Then to dive even deeper into the dysfunction you have to consider the impact on the joints above and below! Again, functional movement disorder is not an injury in itself, but can be a result of an injury, or even result in an injury! The video below explains this perfectly!

So if you can be dysfunctional, but not show any symptoms, how can you tell if you are moving correctly or not? Or even better, you want to do something about your movement now before you have symptoms! Let’s find out in the section below!

How to Tell If You Are Moving Functionally or Dysfunctionally? 

The first thing we all do when we are born is breathe! Breathing is the foundation of functional movement, but not just any breathing. I know there are tons are different breathing exercises and types of breathing, but again what I am referring to is the natural design!

Watch the video below to see what I mean.

If you’re not breathing correctly, chances are very good (or bad) that you are not moving correctly. There many ways you can test for functional movement and the video below is not only a great functional movement exercise but can be a great assessment.

In our clinic, we use a combination of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, which is a rehabilitation modality based on the natural developmental sequence, and Postural Neurology to map the quality of function in specific areas of the brain in regards to posture and movement because like we mention before movement starts with a command from the brain.

We use these concepts not only as a gauge for functionality but also as treatment, which we’ll discuss in the section below. 

Treatment for Functional Movement Disorder

If your issue is dysfunctional movement, you’re in luck because we don’t have to guess what the best treatment will be or how to correct your movement! Remember, we have the blueprint! 

Now, everyone is different and functional movement disorder can have many different faces, but what ideal movement is will always be the same and is always the goal, and what you need to work on to achieve that goal may be different from what another person is lacking in. This is where a trained eye for dysfunction comes in handy. 

There may also be different musculoskeletal conditions at play, which is why we incorporate Chiropractic Adjustment, Active Release Technique (ART), lifestyle adjustments such as Office Ergonomics when necessary in conjunction with the DNS exercises and Postural Neurology. 

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment please contact the office. I hope this helped you understand function vs dysfunction and that you don’t have to be in pain to have a dysfunction.