Assessment Helps Therapists Customize Treatment for Best Outcomes
In today’s world, more and more jobs require long, inefficient postures and repeated movements, sometimes resulting in musculoskeletal problems that can lead to muscle, ligament, and bone pain that reduces function in the shoulders, arms, hands, neck, back, waist, and legs.
Are you in pain? At CORA, we incorporate a special assessment into your treatment plan to help determine both the cause of your discomfort and the most appropriate treatment.
While there is currently no widely accepted, validated standard to assess movement quality, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is one way that complex functional movement can be measured objectively. Those who are evaluated with the SFMA often experience pain relief much sooner than those who undergo other diagnostic methods since SFMA targets the cause of the problem and allows for specific treatment.
What Is the SFMA?
The SFMA is a diagnostic exam conducted by our physical therapists (PT) and athletic trainers (AT) to pinpoint specific causes of musculoskeletal pain. We use it at CORA to develop treatment and prevention programs for individual patients.
The SFMA examines seven common movement patterns to broadly assess how a person moves:
- Cervical Spine Movement Assessment: Flexion of chin to chest, extension of face parallel to ceiling, and of chin left and right to shoulders
- Upper Extremity Movement Pattern: Internal and external rotation, extension, and adduction of the shoulder
- Multi-Segmental Flexion Assessment: Patient stands erect and bends forward at the hips to touch their fingertips to their toes
- Multi-Segmental Extension Assessment: Tests for normal extension of the shoulders, hips, and spine
- Multi-Segmental Rotation Assessment: Tests normal rotational mobility in the neck, trunk, pelvis, hips, knees, and feet
- Single-Leg-Stance Assessment: Evaluates independent stabilization of each leg, incorporating dynamic leg swings
- Overhead Deep Squat Assessment: Tests for bilateral symmetrical mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles
These common movement patterns are oftentimes the most revealing when assessing problem areas for our patients. For each of the movement patterns, there is a baseline criterion that is considered to be achievable by all patients. The criteria are classified in two ways, that is, whether they’re functional or dysfunctional, and painful or non-painful. Our therapists are then able to identify limitations if a patient is restricted in any one of these movement patterns. For example, are you having trouble performing a squat? If so, is it because of stiff ankles? Weak hips? Limited back movement? Poor balance? Our bodies are complex, interconnected systems. The SFMA exam helps us explore regional interdependence to determine the root cause that may contribute to, or be associated with, the patient’s primary complaint.
When one of the seven movement patterns is considered dysfunctional, our PTs and ATs are able to pinpoint exactly what type of dysfunction is occurring. This diagnosis quickly identifies the problem to provide a more targeted treatment option. Corrective exercises and treatment plans to reduce the patient’s pain begin immediately and often encourage functional movement patterns that most people use in their daily lives such as rolling, crawling, kneeling, standing, and much more.
Who Should Have the SFMA?
The SFMA is recommended for anyone who is experiencing pain during movement, especially useful as a preventative measure for athletes to help prevent injuries from occurring. At CORA, our experienced team uses SFMA to help diagnose issues before they become a problem on the field or on the court. A functional diagnosis that takes posture and movement patterns into consideration is crucial, and the SFMA is an excellent tool to accomplish this task.
About CORA Physical Therapy
We offer a full range of cutting-edge services, including SFMA, through a continually growing system of more than 150 clinics located across Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Schedule an appointment at one of our clinics and get to the root of your pain today.