SFMA: Selective Functional Movement Assessment

Assessing quality of movement first

Dr. Ryan uses a functional movement screen to assess patients. Functional movement screens allow for greater sensitivity in gauging where a problem or injury origins are located. A selective functional movement assessment (SFMA) evaluates the not only the limitations of different movements but also the quality of different movements. These movements are graded on a scale based on extensive research of what movements we should be able to accomplish under ideal circumstances. It is a great tool for measuring dysfunction and then for monitoring progress.


The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a series of 7 full-body movement tests designed to assess fundamental patterns of movement such as bending and squatting in those with known musculoskeletal pain. When the clinical assessment is initiated from the perspective of the movement pattern, the clinician has the opportunity to identify meaningful impairments that may be seemingly unrelated to the main musculoskeletal complaint, but contribute to the associated disability. This concept, known as Regional Interdependence, is the hallmark of the SFMA.

The assessment guides the clinician to the most dysfunctional non-painful movement pattern, which is then assessed in detail. This approach is designed to complement the existing exam and serve as a model to efficiently integrate the concepts of posture, muscle balance and the fundamental patterns of movement into musculoskeletal practice. By addressing the most dysfunctional non-painful pattern, the application of targeted interventions (manual therapy and therapeutic exercise) is not adversely affected by pain.

This screen allows us to get a great overall picture of the stability and mobility in each area of the body. Each part of the body has a different function in accomplishing movements such as walking, running, throwing, lifting, etc. When one of these functions becomes dysfunctional, or fails, it can lead to injury in that area or another area of the body that begins to compensate. The SFMA gives us insight into where these areas of dysfunction are located so we can address them and restore proper function with our treatments.

The SFMA then creates a direction in which to apply corrective exercises. After dysfunctions are corrected, they need to be reinforced. This is where corrective exercises work to progress the patient forward to maintaining long-term results. At Genesis Performance Chiropractic, we start every patients corrective exercise process in a safe position based on what they are able to do.

Visit www.sfma.com for more.

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