Some of you may have experienced some new testing that I have done to assess how your body moves.  In the fall of 2017, I began studying a method to assess movement throughout the whole body.  The Selective Functional Movement Assessment, or SFMA, is a tool that takes a patient through a series of 10 movements.  These 10 movements are then classified as being normal functioning or dysfunctional.  This assessment tool is part of the Functional Movement System, which includes other screening tests like the FMS, the Y-balance test, and a few others.  There are several organizations, colleges, universities, professional sports teams and clubs that have started incorporating one or more of these tests into their start-up team training and even tryout regimes.  The reason for this is backed by extensive research into these assessment systems and the amount of information they can provide to coaches and the team medical staff.  In my chiropractic practise, I am able to identify a more specific diagnosis, or even find deeper underlying causes to problems that continue to resurface. 

When a motion is considered to be dysfunctional, that specific movement pattern will then be broken down to assess all the joints involved in that movement.  For example, let us consider the multisegmental flexion motion test, which involves bending forward at the waist to touch the toes.  For this movement to be considered functional, the patient must be able to touch their finger tips to the floor while maintaining straight knees and a rounded lumbar curve.  If they can’t quite reach the floor, this movement would be considered dysfunctional.  There are several reasons why this movement is not working properly.  When we break the movement apart, we have to consider not only the lumbar spine, but also the hips.  Is this a problem only when the body is upright working against gravity or can we isolate the problem to the lumbar spine only when we take out the hips from the movement.  The last movement we assess is the overhead deep squat.  To perform this motion well, there must be adequate thoracic spine extension, shoulder flexion, hip flexion, knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion.  If just one of these joints is not moving properly, the whole motion will be considered dysfunctional.  Orthopedic or muscle testing of single joints may not show us dysfunction on their own.  The beauty of the SFMA is that it addresses movements that involve multiple joints which must work together to perform a motion.  Then, we can use this extensive flow chart of testing in order to breakdown the movement patterns to find out exactly which joint is causing the problem.  

So now we have the information after all the testing, what does it really tell us?  In the sporting world, when this system is used in the physical testing of athletes it may predict the likelihood of an injury.  Individuals that are considered dysfunctional in several movement patterns simply do not move well, making them more prone to injury.  When the stakes are high, i.e. professional level sports, an organization is not going to put millions of dollars into an athlete that has a higher chance of injury.  On a larger scale, there are way more individuals that are not professional athletes, but remain active, or try to be active.  When used or incorporated into fitness facilities, motion screening can be a very valuable  attribute to a gym.  If used to identify a new gym members’ motion ability, trainers can appropriately provide guided exercise programs to members in order to reduce the risk of injury and keep memberships up.  We are starting to see gyms that are operating in this manner where all members must complete SFMA screening tests.  Workouts are guided as per their movement patterns and the injury rates are very low. 

Even for those that do not frequent a gym, everyone needs or wants to move well, without assistance.  We still need to get out of bed in the morning, dress ourselves and look after the daily needs of not only ourselves but possibly others too.  In order to do these things, there is motion required.  If we are not moving well, some of these daily needs may be hindered.  So the ability to move and move well is important for everyone, athlete or not.   

If you want your movement assessed, please contact us or mention this at your next reassessment visit.