Modeled after Cyriax’s selective tissue testing, each test of the SFMA is scored as functional / non-painful, dysfunctional / non-painful, functional / painful, or dysfunctional / painful. The goal is to identify the most dysfunctional non-painful movement pattern and break the pattern down to identify the underlying cause of the dysfunction. This includes using traditional muscle length and joint assessment tests which lead to corrective manual therapy and exercise interventions. Emphasis is placed on identifying the most dysfunctional patterns. The model calls for the intervention to be directed only at the non-painful patterns. This ensures that the adverse effects of pain on motor control will not hinder corrective strategies.
The SFMA serves to efficiently integrate the concepts of posture, muscle balance and the fundamental patterns of the movement system into musculoskeletal practice. Additionally, it provides feedback for the effectiveness of the therapeutic exercise program, which targets the dysfunctional movement pattern and related impairments.