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When treating musculoskeletal disorders and pain, only focusing on the muscle groups or movements that are causing the pain can be shortsighted. The body’s entire musculoskeletal system works together and one area will automatically compensate to relieve pain in another area. This can lead to dysfunction, creating weakness and impairments. At Stratton Sport & Spine, we use the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (or SFMA) to help determine the best methods to progress with therapy for many of our patients with musculoskeletal pain.
What Is the SFMA?
The Selective Functional Movement Assessment is a strategic technique used to analyze and monitor movement patterns in those with musculoskeletal pain. This series of seven full-body movement tests allows therapists to evaluate strength, range of motion, and any impairments. These tests include motions like bending and squatting, and are used to identify impairments that can be related to the musculoskeletal issue being treated.
The main goal of the SFMA is to help the therapist find the movements that are non-painful, yet impaired. Each movement is scored by the pain and impairment level. By looking at these movements closer and the cause of the impairment, a therapy plan can be put into place to address other regions in the body that are contributing to the overall dysfunction and pain for the patient. The SFMA allows for a customized, individual treatment approach that specifically targets the most dysfunctional movements and methodically works to improve these areas of function.
Benefits of Using the SFMA
So why is the SFMA so beneficial in treating musculoskeletal pain for some patients? This assessment helps redirect focus to other areas of the body that are becoming dysfunctional due to the original injury. When treatment and therapy only focuses on the one region affected, other muscles and joints can become dysfunctional by changing movement patterns to eliminate pain or correct balance. This change in patterns can lead to loss of strength, range of motion, and flexibility in these other regions, which can cause more dysfunction in the long-term. The SFMA helps identify these areas sooner to implement a therapy treatment plan that will address these other movement issues, treating the entire body as a whole instead of focusing only on one area.
The main benefit of using the SFMA in treatment of musculoskeletal pain is to ensure the whole body is recovering, not just the injury area. To have pain-free full-body function for the long-term, treatment must address all the regions affected for the best possible outcome. This can save patients from needing further treatment down the road to correct imbalances that were caused by overcompensation by another region of the body to protect the injured area.
At Stratton Sport & Spine, we are committed to finding the best treatment plan for our patients that will give them the most mobility and pain-free function. Using the SFMA is just one of the many ways we customize our treatment plans to give our patients the highest level of care.