Description of movement behaviour determinant

OBEL research is based on the broad idea that injury is likely when an individual’s job demands exceed their physical capacity.  We view the relationship between job demands and physical capacity as a teeter-totter. When the balance between job demands out match physical capacity, injuries can arise. But, the fulcrum in this teeter-totter is not restricted to a fixed location.  In OBEL, we believe that how an person moves, or their movement behaviour, can act as the teeter-totter fulcrum.  If someone can move well, the fulcrum moves towards the job demands side, giving greater leverage to the physical capacity side. For example, if you move efficiently, you don’t have to work as hard. Alternatively, if someone moves using poor technique, the fulcrum moves towards the physical capacity side and giving job demands more leverage. For example, if you use poor technique, you likely have to work harder than necessary. When job demands increase, or when we give job demands more leverage by moving poorly, the likelihood of injury increases.

Now, let’s think about that fulcrum, or movement behaviour a little more. As an input, movement behaviour depends on the commands sent in from our motor control system. Emerging theories like Optimal sensory feedback control provide clever ways to conceptualize all of the steps that go into producing a movement. By targeting training, skill development, or motor learning to specific steps in that motor control process, we hope to nudge people towards better, safer movement behaviours, and in turn, moving the fulcrum towards job demands and giving us more leverage from our physical capabilities.

As an output, movement behavior dictates the biomechanical exposures, like spine compression, that we feel on our bodies.  This means that it is necessary to understand both how the motor control system drives our movements, but also what the output or consequences of that movement are in terms of the biomechanics on our bodies.