Have you Been Screened for Regular Movements?



Many of us go for a physical each year, where a screening exam is performed on the various systems in our body.

The purpose of a screen is generally three-fold:

  1. Identify risk factors;
  2. Identify dysfunction or pathology; and
  3. Monitor the course of disease.

Screens serve to give healthcare providers information upon which to act. An action may be to intervene, monitor or continue as prescribed.

What about a movement screen? Does your healthcare provider perform a movement screen? How about your fitness trainer or coach?

A movement screen assesses your muscles, joints and nerves. It can also help to identify:

  1. Potential risk for injuries;
  2. Why you are in chronic pain;
  3. If your exercise routine is helping or harming you;
  4. Whether your physical therapy, chiropractic, massage or acupuncture is helping you; and
  5. If you are performing optimally as an athlete.

Here is a simple movement screen you can do at home:

  • First, wear comfortable fitting clothes (e.g. shorts), have bare feet
  • Keep your feet together
  • Perform these moves (below) and note:
    • Pain
    • Restricted motion

The moves (go as far as you can, but stop if painful):


  1. Extend your neck backwards.
  2. Flex your neck forward. Your chin should touch your breast bone.
  3. Turn your neck right and touch your chin to your collar bone.
  4. Turn your neck left and touch your chin to your collar bone.


  1. Try and touch your fingers together with one hand going up and behind your neck and the other going down, around and up your back.  Perform on both sides.

Low Back/Hips

  1. Bend forward to touch your toes.
  2. Bend backwards with your arms straight overhead. If this is hard, try it with your hands on your hips.
  3. Twist from your waist to your right.
  4. Twist from your waist to your left.

Compound Movement Assessment

  1. Squat with your feet shoulder width apart and facing forward and your arms straight overhead. Note any asymmetries.

Balance/Stability Assessment

  1. Perform a single leg balance for 15-30 seconds on each leg. Try it with your eyes open and closed.

After the screen:

If you were able to complete each movement/activity with full range of motion, good form and no pain, you have good length/tension relationships in your muscles and good joint function. Your risk for injury is low based on these parameters.

If any of the movements was restricted or painful, it should be addressed.

If you are exercising or an athlete, you will want to modify your activities until the imbalances identified from the screen are corrected.

How to correct dysfunctional movements:

  1. Trigger point release with acupressure or acupuncture
  2. Friction massage
  3. Stretching
  4. Home exercise plan (foam roller, stretching, isolated strengthening, functional full body movements)


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin