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What is Selective Functional Movement Assessment?

by | November 12, 2019

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool developed by Gray Cook, Greg Rose and colleagues. It is a set of seven full-body movement tests to identify specific movement limitations and assist the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in patients with known musculoskeletal pain. It can also pinpoint the stability and coordination problems – guiding the therapist to decide manual or corrective therapy to treat the condition.

Selective Functional Movement Assessment is beneficial for both clinicians and patients. Here’s how.

Benefit for the Patient

Our body requires multi-segmental movements to perform specific tasks such as: putting on shoes, bending down to pull weeds, or performing a deadlift at the gym. As a patient, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment involves an examination and assessment of your basic movement patterns such as how you extend, how you flex forward, how you squat, and rotate your body. Your clinician will want to know if you feel pain during a particular movement and if you do, at what point. He will ask you to stop right there and dig deeper into your medical history and associated symptoms to determine the underlying cause.

The Selective Functional Movement Assessment test can be applied to people from all walks of life and nearly anyone with musculoskeletal pain. However, it is essential to note that the Selective Functional Movement Assessment is not a treatment or therapy – it is an assessment tool that can assist diagnosis and may indicate what treatment or kind of therapy can relieve your symptoms and restore full range of motion. Following an accurate diagnosis, there are any number of ways to treat your condition, such as physical therapy, stretching exercises, chiropractic care, medicines, and surgery.

Benefit for Clinicians

As experts in the musculoskeletal system, health care providers must understand the relationship between various body segments and how impairments in one part can adversely affect the functioning of another body region. The Selective Functional Movement Assessment is one of many assessment methods that can be used by physicians to assess a patient with musculoskeletal pain. These may include physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and even clinicians.

It was designed to assess the status of pain and disability associated with movement patterns using the interdependent regional movement of the body to aggravate symptoms and highlight deficiencies and dysfunctions. Selective Functional Movement Assessment is very useful for a clinician to identify possible movement dysfunctions. It may help uncover potential asymmetries and patterns of abnormal movements.

Selective Functional Movement Assessment

The fact that it uses movement to identify the source of pain is what makes the Selective Functional Movement Assessment distinct from many other systems. Instead of looking at only the area where pain occurs, it looks at how the body and specific joints move as a whole, measures the quality of that movement, and then looks for possible compensations. This will help guide a treatment plan to relieve pain and restore mobility. It also helps the clinician to recognize and treat body regions that lack coordination (motor control) and mobility (range of motion), allowing safe and effective treatment to improve pain-free function and movement. Possible treatments include Chiropractic Adjustments, Graston Technique, Kinesio Taping, Corrective Exercise and massage therapy.

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