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Apr 29

5 Reasons Why You Should Do a Functional Movement Screening

Functional Movement works on the philosophy that in order to maximize your body’s performance and prevent injury, your body must be functioning properly on all levels. It uses 7 movements that test functional movement, mobility and stability.  This idea has been put into effect by numerous groups, including those among the ranks of the NFL, NHL, NBA and various collegiate teams. So what does a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) measure and how can it help you?

1. Identify physical imbalances and limitations

According to Gray Cook, who developed the FMS, the primary cause of athletic injuries is not overall weakness or tightness, but rather muscle imbalance that causes areas of specific weaknesses in the body. Raw strength does not translate into equal functional strength. Strengthening muscles in isolation puts your body in much higher risk for injury. Just because someone can put up big numbers on the bench press does not mean they are not at risk for a serious shoulder injury.


2. Establish a functional baseline to mark progress

Through FMS standardization it allows you to measure performance, set realistic goals and mark progress. Starting with a benchmark of where your current functional strength and mobility is, helps show what exercises are working and which are not.


3.Improve fundamental movement patterns with simple corrective exercises

A FMS screen does not just help identify dysfunctional movement patterns, but it can help you set a course to correct them. Simple corrective exercises can easily be implemented into your everyday routine that trains the brain as well as the body. Correcting dysfunctional movement patterns requires retraining your brain from poor to correct movement patterns. Getting out of bad habits is a challenge, but sticking to the corrective exercises will eventually turn correct movement patterns into muscle memory.


4. Develop an individualize training and conditioning programs for specific results

Once imbalances are identified, a physical therapist can develop a customized program to correct any limitations or imbalances you may have. Because FMS helps find your specific limitations, a program can be implemented to elicit specific results.


5. Reduce the potential for training and sports injuries

FMS offers a preventive step to stop an injury before it happens. We never think we are going to get injured until something does happen, and only then are we forced to correct it. Studies have shown that individuals with an FMS score of 17 or less were almost 5x more likely to sustain an injury.1 Though FMS is not a stand alone test in preventing injury, taking the FMS before an injury or dysfunction presents, finding imbalances & limitations and implementing corrective exercises can lower the chance of injury, as well as optimizing athletic performance. 


Did you know you can contact Viverant without a doctor referral to schedule an appointment regarding a Functional Movement Screening and other services that may help you?


1. Letafatkar, A., Hadadnezhad, M., Shojaedin, S., & Mohamadi, E. (n.d.). RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREENING SCORE AND HISTORY OF INJURY. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from

Apr 27

Do You Need More Carbs?

Within the last decade, low-carb eating has picked up a great deal of momentum. Evolving from diet campaigns like South Beach and Atkins, the strategy is now employed by people following plans like Paleo and Whole30.

Some people are even attempting to do "zero carb," putting their bodies in a state called ketosis that's designed to burn more fat.

Despite their current reputation, however, carbs are not an enemy. As part of one of the three macronutrients the body requires, carbohydrates play a key role in nutrition. They're a main source of fuel, crucial for organ function (including the brain), and essential for digestive health.

Some carbs are more beneficial than others — think whole grains over processed white flour, for example. But in general, it's important to focus on getting the right amount for your activity and energy levels. Here are some signs that you might need to be upping your healthy carbs:

You have no energy: If you're dragging yourself out of bed in the morning (hey, why else would your clock even have a snooze setting?), and then fueling with caffeine to jolt yourself through the day, your carb amount may be off. There can be many factors for energy imbalances, but since carbs are the body's fuel tank, you need to make sure you've putting in enough gas to get you through the day.

Your fitness is suffering: In addition to providing consistent energy during the day, carbs are particularly essential during more intense activities like running or strength training.

Digestion has hit a roadblock: Many people on low-carb or zero-carb diets have to supplement their eating with additional fiber, to address constipation. But even that strategy doesn't always work. Often, they have to introduce additional starches or increase carbs to get back to regularity.

Wondering about how carbs should be incorporated into your overall nutrition plan, especially as your goals change? Talk with one of our nutritional counselors to find the balance that's right for you.

Apr 22

What to Expect from Nutritional Counseling

Although there's a ton of food-related advice in the media, the fact is that everyone has different needs when it comes to nutrition. Your age, health history, physical activity level, goals, weight, and even hormones can have a direct effect on what might work best for you nutritionally. That's why an individualized approach is key. 

But how do you determine what that eating plan should be, especially as you focus in on goals like injury and illness prevention, surgery recovery, and higher fitness levels? Fortunately, you don't have to become an expert in nutrition to come up with a solid strategy—because there are already experts who can help.

Registered Dietitians have a passion for improving physical performance, recovery, and prevention. Here's what you can expect from your consultations:

Assessment of your goals: Everyone wants to eat healthier, but what does that mean to you personally? Do you want to pursue carb cycling to maximize strength training for a sport, or do you want to incorporate more vegetables into your meals as a way to control high blood pressure? With an understanding of your current health issues and long-term goals, registered dietitians can help you put an eating plan together.

Inspiration that keeps you on track: Steamed vegetables and chicken breast for dinner every night? Yawn. Registered dietitians know that meals need to be enticing and flavorful, and that including diverse ingredients can help you get the micronutrients you need. They can help come up with ideas for making your meals into delicious favorites, instead of a chore.

Friendly support: Like any change, simply knowing what needs to be done is only the start. Nutritional counseling sessions are designed to give you the resources and knowledge you need, but the meaningful change will come from you. But you won't have to do it alone— registered dietitians are partners, and work to support you, so that you can be successful in making sustainable shifts in your nutrition. 

One thing you can expect not to hear? Lectures. No matter what you eat, nutritional therapists prefer to help, not harangue, and that means your appointments will be free of scolding and judgment. Health is about what you could be doing better, and working together toward a plan. So, make the most of a professional's nutritional expertise and consider scheduling a consultation


Did you know you can contact Viverant without a doctor referral to schedule an appointment regarding nutrition and other services that may help you?

Apr 20

Why Girls Are 4 to 6 Times More Likely To Have An ACL Injury Than Boys [Infographic]

With an estimated 200,000 a year, ACL injuries are one of the seven most common sport related injuries. In the past couple of decades female athletics have grown exponentially, this has brought upon an epidemic of female ACL injuries. Females are 4 to 6 times more likely to have an ACL injury than boys, due to several anatomical and biomechanical differences. Check out our infographic to learn more.

Apr 15

Ditch the Cookie Cutter

With our busy lives, eating right and understanding how to strike the proper balance can be tricky—especially since your goals and needs may be different from those around you. Check out our nutrition guide with some simple steps to help you make a plan that fits you and your lifestyle.

Apr 14

What You Need to Know About Dry Needling

Dry needling sounds intimidating, but is nothing to be afraid of. Rather it is a powerful tool to combine with other forms of physical therapy treatments. Dry needling can help those who suffer from arthritis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, back pain, shin splints, to name a few. Everyone can benefit from dry needling, but few are aware of what dry needling is and how it can be beneficial in their life. 

What is dry needling?
Dry needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle into trigger point or “knots”. A trigger point is a group of tight shortened bands of muscle tissue which often cause pain in various parts of the body. These trigger points can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as bad posture, repetitive stress and injury. When deactivating a trigger point or releasing the tension of a shortened muscle with the needle, it helps restore the muscle to normal function. 

Is dry needling the same as acupuncture?
Dry needling and acupuncture use the same needles, but that is where their similarity ends. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine which seeks to address the flow of energy in the body by activating meridian points within the body, whereas dry needling uses knowledge rooted in western neuroanatomy, and is more concerned with treating specific neuromuscular problems caused by trigger points.

What to expect from your first dry needling appointment?
The first question that comes to most people’s minds is, will it hurt? Generally, the insertion of the needle is painless. When the needle hits the trigger point, a “twitch response” may provoke a quick pain sensation similar to a muscle cramp, beyond that dry needling is generally pain free for most individuals. 

Immediately after the treatment expect to feel sore for the first 24-48 hours. After a dry needling session it feels as if you are sore from an intense workout. Soreness does depend on the area treated as well as varies person to person.

What are the benefits of dry needling?
Some of the more common known benefits of dry needling are reduced pain, tightness and spasms, but also helps improves overall functional movement; by improving motion, flexibility, strength, and control of the muscle. Dry needling can also speed up recovery rate and increase blood circulation.   

Combined with other physical therapy treatments dry needling can help a variety of people, from those who suffer from chronic pain to athletes looking to increase mobility, speed up recovery and reduce pain. 

Remember, dry needling is nothing to be scared of and it can be a great tool to help improve your daily life. 

Apr 12

3 Healthy Fats to Keep You Fuller, Longer

For decades, Americans were warned that eating certain types of fat would lead to problems like heart disease and obesity. Health experts acknowledged that certain fats — like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish — were beneficial, but there was a general anti-fat sentiment that led to low-fat diets and avoidance of some dairy and meats.

New research is revising that advice considerably. Over 70 studies have shown there's no link between saturated fat and heart disease, and researchers are continuing to dive into how fat affects us. What is known already is that fat is a macronutrient that is crucial for our bodies, because it's necessary for absorbing certain vitamins. It's also fat that provides the most satiation during eating. 

Does that mean you can eat a few sticks of butter, maybe wrapped in bacon and dipped in corn oil for good measure? Well, not so fast. Not all fats are equal, and some choices are more beneficial than others. Here are three good choices to consider:

Fatty Fish: There are mercury concerns with larger ocean dwellers like swordfish, but you can still reap plenty of omega-3 advantages with smaller fish and fresh water choices. These include wild salmon, sardines, lake trout, tuna, and mackerel. Not only are these tasty, but they're also good for your heart

Nuts and Seeds: Although nuts and seeds are high in calories and should be eaten in smaller portions, they pack a big punch when it comes to healthy fats. They also boast protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, are particularly useful since they contain the highest amount of plant based omega-3.

Avocados: During the anti-fat crusade, the innocent avocado often got shunned because of its high fat content. But now it's back on plates, and that's an excellent change since the fruit is rich in monounsaturated fat as well as folate, potassium, fiber, and several vitamins.

Wondering about how to fit fat into your overall nutrition profile? Talk with one of our registered dietitians to find the balance that's right for you.

Apr 01

Food Tracking Made Easier

When it comes to developing an individualized approach to your nutrition plan, one of the best ways to start is by tracking what you eat. After all, if you don't know your starting point, it's harder to set goals and gauge progress. 

But who wants to write down every single ingredient, meal, snack, and drink consumed over the course of a day? And what about keeping that kind of log for multiple days or even weeks? It doesn't take long for the practice to turn into a slog, especially if you're trying to estimate quantities—did you have half a cup of blueberries, or 1/3 cup?—and then share those with a registered dietitians.

Fortunately, food tracking doesn't have to be a pain. There are a few ways to make the practice easy and workable:

Set a timeframe
To get a glimpse of how much you eat, when you eat it, and what you're eating, schedule a certain timeframe for the effort. One day of food tracking is usually not enough to see what your consumption patterns are like, especially since people who know they're being tracked sometimes eat differently than they would usually (choosing carrots instead of cupcakes, for example). Set aside one week or at least establish a specific endpoint. That will make the effort feel more like a project and less like a homework assignment.

Get into a food photo habit
Keeping on top of your food intake may be as easy as reaching for your smartphone or camera. Whenever you put together a meal or have a snack, take a photo. There's no need to arrange the dish artfully like you're trying to win Instagram—it's just a way to create a record that you and your registered dietitians can look at later.

Use an app
There's an app for almost everything, and food tracking is no exception. Some even help to pinpoint your macronutrients, and record activity levels. These are more time consuming than simply taking a photo, but they also provide insights into how your physical activity fits together with your food intake.

Getting even a rough idea of what you eat every day, and in what amount, can help you and your registered dietitians to understand how food is fitting into your life. From there, you can set a plan together that works for your health and fitness goals.

Feb 17

Kristine Lueck with Dance PT Ashley

"Viverant would like to congratulate our patient, Kristine Lueck, and her MN State University Mankato dance team on winning the national championship in January!  It was the Mavericks' first time winning the prestigious Universal Dance Association's nationals in Disney World.  Thanks to working with Ashley, Kristine was able to continue dancing!"

Feb 17

Jenny S.

Read about Jenny's experience with the Viverant team!

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