Can You March On The Spot? Easy Right.......?

Posted Mar 14, 2022 at 08:21

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Marching on the spot or otherwise known as a Fukuda stepping test/ Unterberger test can be harder than you think.


To perform the test stand in the middle of an open space such as your living room. Mentally mark your starting point in the room, then with your eyes closed and arms out in front at 90’ march on the spot for 30 seconds.  A normal outcome for this test is after 30 seconds you are at the same point you started at. 


Often when we ask clients to perform this test they have moved any number of ways, either forwards or backwards, left or right or a combination of the two. This indicates sub optimal nervous system function. How you may ask? 


The fukuda step test is used to assess normal vestibular function and motor coordination. The vestibular system is a sensory system which provides your brain with information such as motion, head position and spatial awareness and therefore is essential for normal movement and equilibrium. 


Not only does the fukuda stepping test identify a suboptimal vestibular system but it also provides the assessor an indicator to the side of lesion (dysfunction). Commonly if a client walks forwards and rotates to the left, the side of lesion or dysfunction will be on the left. Brace yourself for some Jargon. 


As the lesion is a subluxated joint i.e joint with restriction, on movement will provide the brain with less information than its associated joint on the other side of the body. This long term will affect the output of the corresponding cortex ( in charge of motor function/ coordination) and after 66 to 133 days will start to change the brain. Depending on the amount of information that specific joint provides to the brain (found on a somatosensory homunculus) can then have a profound effect on nervous system function and its perception and production of pain. 


This can often be explained with blue prints. The brain has two main schemas or blueprints, one where the body actually is, and another where the brain thinks the body is. If these two schemas or blueprints perfectly overlap and are the same your nervous system is working optimally and will produce proper function and movement and likely very little symptoms. If your brain's blueprint is different to the bodies then you will lose coordination, balance, flexibility, strength and posture, thus likely to feel the effects of it such as pain, stiffness etc. 


In Layman’s terms. No subluxations means proper information to the nervous system. Optimal nervous system means the two schemas/ blueprints overlap perfectly. We can see this in a fukuda stepping test because you will finish on the same spot to started on, meaning you have proper movement and function. Ultimately, experiencing very little symptoms both physically and cognitively and bare disaster will probably live a long, happy and fruitful life.