Known as the SFMA, you may be more familiar with its predecessor the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). If not familiar and you're an aspiring athlete then you should! The SFMA is a series of movement used to evaluate an individuals basic functional movements providing a road map to their pain or eventual dysfunction.
One of the biggest problems with todays healthcare, as a whole, is the tendency of physicians to "chase the symptoms" or treat pain. For many people this is great! They go to the doctor in pain and get pain pills, massage, adjustments or any other number of palliative treatments. They essentially are getting pampered and lets be honest, who does like getting pampered!? The problem is that none of this provides long term relief. When you chase the symptoms/pain you are ignoring the problem! Don't get me wrong, on occasion the pain and dysfunction are one in the same, especially in a scenario where there is a direct trauma to the area. However, when dealing with chronic pain, like like back pain, to isolate treatment to just the low back you are ignoring the problem.
First the FMS. The FMS is a series of 7 functional movements designed to screen athletes for movement deficiencies. The idea is use this tool to predict the likelihood of injury with activity. These movements are not complicated yet most people are unable to perform these basic motions adequately. The FMS is usually implemented with pre-participatory screenings for personal trainers, gyms and team sports. The screen is not designed to be diagnostic in nature. It is simply a pass or fail test that tells the coach, trainer or instructor whether or not the athlete should be attempting the activities upcoming.
Now the SFMA is a much more diagnostic set of movements. There are a couple movements that they share but where the FMS stops at pass or fail the SFMA takes the fail and asks "why". Once movement limitation or dysfunction is identified further tests are implemented to differentiate between mobility or stability problems. In the SFMA there are 3 different types of dyfunction: Joint Mobility dysfunction (JMD), Tissue Extensibility Dysfunction (TED) or Stability Motor Control Dysfunction (SMCD). Once these are identified in either the joint or the spine rehab protocols are in place to correct said dysfunction. Exercises are designed to either create stability or mobility in the appropriate joints where the SFMA indicates. The best part...... Pain is not a requisite for these tests to elicit positive indicators. The SFMA can indicate dysfunction both before and after pain is present! As a matter of fact, for those of you who feel as though are in tip top shape I'd challenge you to make it through the SFMA without any dysfunctional movement indicators.
So, In the event you're in the market to prevent/remedy dysfunction, pain and/or injury the SFMA is something that would be useful to you. Regardless of your level of competition (Olympics, high school, college or recreational) or sport (baseball, rugby, ultimate, swimming etc.) the SFMA is an invaluable tool for preventing injury by identifying faulty movement patterns before they cause pain.