Physio Logic Chiropractor, Dr. Mike Distler, DC, discusses the role of the Selective Functional Movement Assessment, or SFMA, in diagnosing and treating patients experiencing acute or chronic pain in the absence of a significant traumatic event.
Identifying the Source of Pain
“Where is my pain coming from?” is the most common question that we hear as chiropractors. For patients with an acute injury, such as a traumatic shoulder injury or ankle inversion sprain, the location of tissue damage and mechanism of injury is fairly straightforward for both the patient and practitioner to determine. For patients with chronic or acute injury in the absence of a significant traumatic event, the source of pain and mechanism of injury is more complex. In either case, the goal is to correct the current problem and decrease the probability of re-injury. Unfortunately, it is common practice to treat only the location of the symptoms and inadequately address the true mechanism of the injury, which may be located in a different area of the body and may even be asymptomatic. To provide the correct treatment, it’s critical to look beyond the site of the symptoms to determine the dysfunctional forces or movement patterns that caused the tissue damage.
The Role of SFMA, or Selective Functional Movement Assessment
It is understood that a patient with a history of multiple ankle injuries can develop low back pain due to compromised movement patterns and motor control; however, the connection shouldn’t be generally assumed. It is also possible that the presentation of symptoms in multiple areas of the body are unrelated. Movement evaluation systems, such as the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), help us to differentiate.
How Does It Work?
The Selective Functional Movement Assessment is an algorithm of specific movement patterns performed by the patient that allows the practitioner to assess quality of movement throughout the body. In the initial part of the assessment, the movements are global and more complex. The movements can then be broken down into more specific, local components if necessary. The system helps the practitioner identify dysfunctional movement patterns and also determines the method by which to treat them. Correction of the dysfunctional movement patterns addresses the patient’s current presentation and also helps decrease the chance of future injury.