Selective Functional Movement Assessment

The Selective Functional Movement Assessment is a comprehensive assessment of fundamental movement patterns. It’s comprised of seven standardized full-body movement tests: cervical spine movement; upper extremity movement; multi-segmental flexion, extension, and rotation; single leg stance; and overhead deep squat.

Physical therapists interpret the seven functional movement tests to evaluate a patient’s painful movements. For each test, the patient’s mobility is broken into four categories—functional non-painful, functional painful, dysfunctional painful, and dysfunctional non-painful.

This assessment is based on a concept called regional interdependence. The pain that patients experience is often due to meaningful impairments that are seemingly unrelated to the patient’s musculoskeletal condition. These tests can reveal a patient’s hidden regional movement dysfunctions, typically caused by muscle imbalance or compensation for injury or disorder.

Based on the results of the assessment, a physical therapist would then develop a treatment plan to treat the source of your problem, not just the symptoms. Treatment plans normally include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises that address the patient’s specific impairments, normalize movement dysfunction, and provide pain relief.

This assessment is most often performed by physical therapists, but can also be performed by various other licensed health care providers, including physicians and athletic trainers.