Proper diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment.

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA for short) is a repeatable diagnostic system that can be tested before and after Active Release Technique treatment in order to let the patient see and actually feel the difference.  Our goal is to find, treat, and fix the root cause of the dysfunction while also getting the patient out of pain.  SFMA allows Dr. Walsh to assess for stability and/or motor control dysfunctions as well as mobility dysfunctions in his patients.  This drastically cuts down the recovery time from injuries because the body reveals the true root cause of the patient’s pain and problem instead of just treating their pain.  Once that is fixed and corrected, Dr. Walsh guides the patient through stability exercises and reinforces proper movement patterns to reteach the body how to properly function again.


Simply put, SFMA is a series of movement tests that we ask the patient to perform in order to evaluate overall function of a person’s body.  These basic movement patterns are normal on almost everyone as we grow from birth.  At some point in our busy lives, we had an injury or a repetitive movement that threw our normal pattern out of whack.  So our bodies compensated in order to still get us to live life.  Over time, those overcompensations take a toll and then WHAM...your Low Back goes out picking up a pencil.  Was it the weight of the pencil that caused your back pain?  Let’s explore an example…


Say we have an otherwise healthy patient who complains of Low Back pain after picking up a pencil off the floor 5 years ago.  They have been to dozens of specialists and therapists over the years, received rehab for the Low Back, given Low Back exercises that felt like it made things worse, received multiple injections for pain in the Low Back…and yet, the back pain never changes.  The reason could be the Low Back is NOT the problem.  We need to stop trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  We need to treat the cause instead of chasing symptoms. Why do we call the cable company when the cable goes out instead of just banging on the TV over and over again?  Because we know the signal could be messed up coming from the source.  Your body is the same thing.  We must fix the source of the problem in order to get rid of the pain.


Performing an SFMA assessment will give Dr. Walsh a detailed analysis of the patient’s movement patterns.  These patterns very often show the actual root cause to be perhaps a dysfunctional Hip Joint or tight Mid-Back due to poor posture that isn’t allowing for proper movement.  The Hip Joint and the muscles around the joint were made to help us walk, run, bend at the waist, to pick something up, etc.  If that Hip Joint that is supposed to have between 110-120 degrees of movement all of a sudden only has 80 degrees of movement, the body has to find an extra 30-40 degrees of movement from somewhere else.


Typically, the body just goes to the next joints above or below the restricted (Hip) Joint to find that mobility.  The body overcompensates for this dysfunction by asking the Low Back to take on much more than it was designed to do.  The Low Back is overworked until one day…BANG…the Low Back gives out because of a pencil.  Clearly the pencil didn’t cause the problem, but yet most course of treatment from most Doctors is to immediately treat the pain when most times the root cause is coming from another area of the body.  All the treatment and procedures in the world to the Low Back will not stop the pain or let the patient live the life they were meant to live because the actual dysfunction has not been assessed and treated.


“A good example of an SFMA analysis is when a patient comes in with a long history of back pain.  Years of PT, Epidural shots, Massage, and Rehab give some temporary relief but never really ‘fixed’ the problem, so the patient had received years and years of treatment.  During the examination, it is found that their Hip Joint is dysfunctional even though it has no pain.  Treatment is performed on the dysfunctional Hip without even treating the painful Low Back.  Next thing we see is the patient moving easier, walking, and dancing around with no Low Back pain calling me a voo-doo Doctor.  Their definition of voo-doo is actually just my knowledge of joint function and knowing how the body works together in something called Regional Interdependence.  The body naturally recruits other areas of the body to help dysfunctional areas complete normal activities of living.  Dr. Walsh uses SFMA and Active Release Technique in conjunction to quickly find the cause of the problem and fix it so that other areas don’t have to overcompensate anymore.”


Call us at 973 477 3470 to discuss if you are one of the many not getting the root cause of your pain properly diagnosed and treated.