Rolling over as a baby was one of your first big milestones on the road to getting mobile, and it probably happened between the 4 – 6 month age range. To accomplish this movement, your little body had to gain the strength and mobility in your neck, arms, lower back, and stomach. You were able to slowly gain strength in these areas by learning how to kick and lift your arms head which were crucial movements during the first 3 months. Above all other movements, rolling over signifies the first time you as a baby that you were able to coordinate multiple muscles to achieve a common goal.
So, what does this milestone have to do with you as a fully developed adult? Rolling, from the lying face-down or face-up position, combines the use of the upper extremities, core, and lower extremities in a coordinated manner to move from one posture to another. At first thought, you may think that rolling is easy and should not be considered during typical workout program or physical assessments at a clinician’s office. What most people do not know is that assessment of rolling may be beneficial for use with athletes who perform rotationally-biased sports such as golf, throwing, tennis, and twisting sports such as dance, gymnastics, and figure skating. Additionally, when used as an intervention technique, the rolling patterns have the ability to affect dysfunction of the upper extremities, core, and lower extremities.
A good way to look at rolling is to try and classify it as a functional movement pattern similar to squatting, lunging and stepping. This is because these movements are all Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) patterns, which all rely on the body’s ability to effectively create and control mobility and stability. The muscles must work synergistically in order for movement to occur. This synergy requires the muscles to have the ability to contract and relax in order to perform basic movements. If there is an imbalance or dysfunction in the muscle, it can often be traced to a disruption in the body’s proprioceptive (communication) system, leading muscles to either be inhibited or not facilitated at the right moments.
Many therapists who treat adult patients and clients may fail to remember the principles of developmental postures and their sequence. Actually, rolling is a movement pattern seldom used by chiropractors, physical therapists, or other clinicians during assessment and intervention. If a clinician has a patient try and roll properly, they may find that their rolling ability may have become altered or uncoordinated due to muscular weakness, stiffness or tightness of structures, improper posture, or lack of stability in the core muscles. Rolling is a movement that may be performed during Selective Functional Movement Assessment.
Rolling is critical to the normal sequence of learning proper movement that can affect the way we move, exercise, and play sports. Check out this video on how to roll properly, or to schedule SFMA test, call 703-912-7822 or visit us at Chiropractor in Burke, VA.