Selective Functional Movement Assessment

Did you know that Sports & Spinal Albury Osteopath Vaughan is the only certified Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) therapist between Melbourne and Canberra?

What is the SFMA?

The SFMA is a series of 7 full-body movements designed to assess fundamental patterns of movement such as bending and squatting in those with known musculoskeletal pain.  Thorough assessment guides the clinician to the most dysfunctional movement pattern/s, which is then further broken down and assessed in detail. This approach is designed to complement the exams that we already perform.  As Osteopaths we are trained to look and treat the body holistically however a greater understand of how this correlates to functional movement patterns and how to enhance these movement patterns was something that had bugged Vaughan for a while.


It is clear from peer reviewed literature that the number one risk factor to sustaining an injury is having a previous injury. Let that sink in for a second. Despite all of the rehabilitation you may (or may not) have done in the past, the countless hours you have spent strengthening and stretching after an injury, you are still at a greater risk of having another injury than ever before. Don’t panic though……this does not mean that all of those hours have gone to waste. You will be more robust as an individual in the way you move than you were immediately after the injury, slowly edging closer to your pre-injury state.

So why does this happen?

Pain alters our movement patterns.  Let’s look at a very simply scenario.  Think about the last time you rolled you ankle or forcibly stubbed your big toe.  How did you move immediately after that? Were you able to regain your natural movement straight away? Or did you fall to the ground, writhing in pain like Neymar has done so eloquently well in the current World Cup before standing up and hobbling around for a moment or more?  Once learnt, movement patterns are stored forever, even the bad ones.  Our job as therapist is to make sure your “dodgy” movement pattern does not replace your “good” movement pattern.

But this is something we have done at Sports & Spinal Albury for years…… what is new?

Vaughan now has a deeper understanding of how movement can be detrimentally affected by pain and/or injury.  With the SFMA, he has an assessment tool that gives him of a clearer indication of whether the client has a mobility restriction or motor control issue meaning treatment and rehabilitation can be more targeted with the potential for better and more rapid outcomes for the client.

-  Dr Vaughan Saunders

B Sc (Clin Sc) M Hlth Sc (Osteo)