Is There a Difference Between FMS and SFMA?

Last blog we introduced Gray Cook and the Functional Movement Scale (FMS). We said that FMS works well when the individual has normal, pain-free movements. However, most patients that come into the clinic experience pain. What happens then?


Gray Cook has a second assessment called the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). The SFMA exposes asymmetries and movement imbalances that could be causing pain. The SFMA focuses on the quality of the movement, as opposed to reputations. The FMS explains the SFMA finds the source of pain by “breaking down dysfunctional movement patterns in a structured, repeatable assessment.” Overall, health care professionals utilize SFMA as a diagnostic tool to help guide interventions and address limitations.

Scoring the SFMA

There are 7 categories that clinicians use to evaluate movement. The movements include neck patterns, upper body patterns, movements of the spine and lower body. Some SFMA movements that most people are familiar with are a deep squat, bending to touch your toes and heel walks. The movements are then scored in one of four different ways:

  • Functional, not painful
  • Functional, painful
  • Dysfunctional, not painful
  • Dysfunctional, painful

The results of the SFMA help the clinicians to further understand the cause of the pain and create a personalized treatment plan.

Contact Us!

If you are interesting in seeing one of our FMS or SFMA certified physical therapists, give us a call today! New Jersey has direct access which means you can come see us without seeing your doctor! We can see you quicker than you could get in to see the doctor, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your student’s evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!