What is Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)?

January 10, 2023

Developed in 2010 by the renowned physical therapist Gray Cook and his colleagues, the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a clinical pain diagnostic tool composed of 10 movements designed to address stability, motor control, and/or mobility dysfunctions.


The results of the SFMA are separated into four categories:

  1. Functional non-painful
  2. Functional painful
  3. Dysfunctional non-painful
  4. Dysfunctional painful


From back, knee, neck and shoulder pain, the SFMA examines the underlying dysfunctional movement pattern that causes the pain. This concept is called regional interdependence.

Source: NASM


Here is an example:

Rotational sports are a great example to demonstrate how the Regional Interdependence (RI) model works. Let’s look at a golfer who is experiencing lower back pain.

golfingDuring the backswing and the coiling phase of the removement, the athlete heavily relies on the mobility in the mid back (thoracic spine). This mobility allows for rotation and the ability to generate power for the downswing.

This is only possible if the athlete has adequate movement in the thoracic spine but also has control along the adjacent areas.

For instance, if the athlete lacks enough control to stabilize their lumbar spine during the backswing, this will create excessive motion in the lower back.

This instability in the lumbar spine will contribute to stiffness in the mid back and breakdown in the athlete’s swing mechanics, power potential, and excessive force running through their lower. This lack of control can be a big driver (pun intended) in the athlete’s lower back pain.

In short, a region of the body is only as good as the region that surrounds it. In this particular case, a golfer’s stiff mid-back issue is actually a lower-back issue. The SFMA is designed to discover this breakdown in control.



What is Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)?Interested In The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)?

If you are interested in an SFMA assessment, don’t wait and contact your Tangelo  Chiropractic Team right away.

We have two Seattle locations and one Portland location to serve you.

Your Selective Functional Movement Assessment will be combined with other state-of-the-art assessment tools to determine the root cause of your pain and the appropriate path to living your best, pain-free life.

We also accept insurance.

Don’t wait any longer – reserve your appointment today!