Dr. Ryan Comeau: Helping People Over 50 Move Better and Pain-Free

The other great thing about using a standardized tool like the Kinect camera is that we can start to look at some of this data that’s never been collected before and begin to get insight on how function diminishes over time and how some of the correctives that we can employ can help to improve function.

Can you give a couple of examples of the types of assessment people might do and how the Kinetisense product helps provide better data?

 Dr. Ryan Comeau: Speaking of functional movement, the most popular assessment that’s out there today is called the Functional Movement Screen, or FMS. What would happen with this, it is a series of movements that the practitioner will have the patient go through and looking for deficiencies in scoring. It is somewhat of a workflow or a chart that the practitioner uses as the person goes through the movements. Like I said, very subjective and can take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes to go through the entire workflow. Because this is such a time-consuming assessment, many practitioners will skip valuable steps. Skipping this step leads to increased subjectivity, and at the end of the day, the objectivity of the evaluation goes downhill. One of the critical things for people over the age of 50 is balance especially as it pertains to reducing the risk of falls. Right now, balance is a functional movement that is being assessed visually in hospitals and clinics. Kinetisense can get that objective data and score balance, which allows us to recognize trends.

The most important thing about having objective data are trends. We can look and see if someone’s balance is improving, someone’s balance is diminishing. We can look to see if someone’s function is progressing or declining. Then we can make the proper decisions at the correct times from a clinical standpoint to be able to increase their function. The better function allows us to keep the person moving, reduce the chance of a fall and keep them from potentially fracturing a hip or something like that, which can have very dire consequences.  We look at our functional movement screen that is currently being used by the Miami Heat. They are looking at a function from a performance standpoint of NBA athletes. Our 65-year-old who wants to keep playing golf, it is no different. You are just on a different part of that spectrum. All we want to do is make sure we get a baseline and that we move them towards better function.

If a person does have a movement dysfunction, how does that affect their day to day life, and how does it affect their ability to perform in activities that involve accelerated movements like golf, tennis or cycling?

Dr. Ryan Comeau: When we look at the neuromuscular system, that is the nervous system, the brain, the nerves, we look at the soft tissue, like the muscles, all of this. All the components, the bones, the joints that allow us to do a movement. Some strategies are better than others when it comes to how we move. You look at the movement of going into a squat or having someone, an older adult sits down on a chair. Are they using their glutes and their hamstrings to perform this movement? Alternatively, is it a movement mainly done by the quads and the anterior chain muscles? Compensation is the word. Are we compensating? Over the span of our lifetime, do we have injuries? Do we have weak core muscles? Do we have weak glute muscles? Glutes are the number one stabilizer of the pelvis. Do we start to compensate because we do not move enough? In this day in age, many of us spend too much time sitting. That de-conditions the body. It puts our body into compensation. When we are compensating, the core muscles do not work anymore. We must recruit other muscles. The brain will find different pathways or other muscles to get the job done.

That is where our system looks at these movements. We look at all the compensation patterns, and we figure out, “Okay, this person may have knee pain but is it stemming potentially from their hip? Alternatively, is it coming from their ankle? Alternatively, maybe they do not have enough glute strength, and they are using too much of their quads.” That is really where we find out where these compensations occur. What the risk of injury is for these people and where they fit on that spectrum. Then based on that, being able to take them through corrective strategies to improve that. I will go back to the risk of a fall. One of the best predictors of risk of a fall in the population over 65 years of age is atrophy of the glute muscles or weakness of the glutes. We can take someone and put them through a squat test and see how their body reacts and how the different joints react to try to accommodate or compensate. That is where the rubber hits the road. If we can start to strengthen the glutes, we can then improve their balance, their golf swing, what have you. Performing daily activities of life or sports or merely trying not to fall. That is how we can improve their overall function.

In the intro, I said that Kinetisense was the first markerless 3D motion caption tool. Many people may not know what that is. Could you explain it and why it is so crucial for your practitioners?

Dr. Ryan Comeau: When I started to research as to why many of these practitioners decide not to use gold standards of assessment tools to get numbers and like I said, 75% of these practitioners are eyeballing their assessments; I started to look into why. The reason why is that in a practitioner’s day to day workflow, so to speak, anything that will slow them down in their workflow, because they need to be efficient, they tend to move aside or not use in their clinic. That is why the goniometer and inclinometer, these tools that are gold standards up until now, aren’t being used by 75% of these practitioners because they are just too slow. Even though it is more subjective, they only eyeball the assessment instead of using instruments. There’s this trade-off. What we are seeing is this trade-off between efficiency and objectivity. That is why some practitioners are using tools, and some aren’t.

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Phil Faris

Phil Faris is a Best-Selling Author, business consultant, radio host for Never Too Late for Fitness Radio, and contributing writer for Business Innovators Magazine covering Influencers, Innovators, and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Fitness, and Leadership.