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The Secret To Resolving Muscle and Joint Pain Syndromes

A new paradigm in dealing with musculoskeletal injuries. 

This article deals with assessing human movement, and highlights the Functional Movement Screen™ and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) developed by Gray Cook and Lee Burton.  The Functional Movement Screen™ is an innovative system used to evaluate movement pattern quality for clients or athletes.

“It has also been recognized that the dysfunctions of muscles and joints are so closely related, the two should be considered a single, inseparable functional unit,” said the preeminent doctor in physical medicine, Vladimir Janda

Our nervous system generates normal movement by integrating and orchestrating groups of muscles to produce fundamental movement patterns with an adequate balance of mobility and stability to meet the demands of the task at hand.

The human system will compensate normal patterns of movement in response to pain or in the presence of weakness, tightness, or structural abnormality. Over time, pain alters normal movement patterns, often causing compensation such as limping or guarding to protective injured joints or muscles. The pain associated with movement often results in as decreased ROM, muscle length changes, and decreased strength.

Gray Cook has said that a limp is visual representation of the body giving up it’s core stability in order to prevent the loading of a painful joint.  Sometimes the body compensates in a less dramatic fashion and the altered movement patterns are more subtle.

The traditional sports medicine model is to look to the pain.  Typical RICE(rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is helpful to control inflammation.  However, using an isolated or regional approach to either evaluation or treatment will not accurately detect the issues that caused the pain, nor restore function. Gray Cook has said repeatedly that functional restoration requires a map of dysfunctional patterns and a working knowledge of functional patterns to gain clinical perspective and design an effective treatment strategy.

Pain-free functional movement for participation in occupation and lifestyle activities is desirable. In order for our body to create proper pain-free functional movements during sport or activities requires adequate posture, full unimpeded range of motion, proper muscle and fascial gliding between soft tissue structures, motor control, and balance reactions.  Impairments in  any of these areas can alter functional movement resulting in or as a consequence of pain.

Utilizing the Functional Movement Screen™ and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) allows health care professionals to assess key functional movement patterns the body performs and allows the detection of faulty movement, muscle imbalances, and lack of joint mobility and stability.  This information is essential to identify dysfunctional movement. Traditional muscle length, strength, and special tests can be used to help the clinician identify the impairments, which are associated with dysfunctional movement.

By using the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) as an approach designed to complement existing exam the practitioner can better detect faulty movement patterns and be much more specific in devising a program therapeutic exercise to help correct the problem or issues. The Functional Movement Screen™ and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) serve as a model to efficiently integrate the concepts of posture, muscle balance and the fundamental patterns of the movement system into musculoskeletal practice. It should also serve as a feedback system for the effectiveness of the therapeutic exercise program, which should target the dysfunctional movement pattern as well as the impairments that have been identified.

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