The human body is a beautiful and complex system of interactions, full of intricate webs of interconnectivity. Clinicians who specialize in movement systems have always been at the forefront of these discoveries. When patients come to your office, it’s usually due to complaints of pain or dysfunction that’s affecting their daily lives. Through careful analysis, you look for clues to find the underlying sources to help improve their symptoms.
To gain a complete understanding of the musculoskeletal system, it’s vital to master the study of alternating stable and mobile joints. Detailed knowledge of the stability/mobility continuum aids in identifying the cause of the patient’s condition, which isn’t always obvious.
The body’s major joints rely on each other in a symbiotic relationship to support optimal physical health. Mobile joints have a wider range of motion and are able to produce a variety of desired movements, while stable joints are meant to resist undesired movements. Here’s a quick overview of how the body’s stable and mobile joints impact one another:
Let’s start with the hips
The hips are extremely mobile joints, moving in all three planes of movement: sagittal, coronal and transverse planes. Radiating outward from the hips, our joints alternate between stable and mobile regions, making up the stability/mobility continuum.
Moving upward from the hips is the stable lumbar-pelvic region. Above that is the mobile thoracic spine. Next, the stable scapulothoracic is followed by the shoulders, which are mobile. And finally, moving distally from the shoulder, are the stable elbows.
Moving downward from the hips are the stable knee joints followed by the mobile ankles. These alternating stable and mobile regions work in tandem when they are functioning normally. However, if any one of these regions is thrown off, there’s a domino effect, leading to a series of issues in other parts of the body that can be seemingly unrelated to the true source of the condition.
How the stability/mobility continuum tricks your patients
When there’s an issue with the movement of the hip – where the hip loses mobility – the body compensates for the loss of motion. The needed movement shifts to the joints above and below – which are not made to be mobile. In this example, the stable lumbar-pelvic region and knees are forced to become mobile.
When stable regions of the body – such as the lumbar-pelvic region – are forced to be mobile to compensate for the hips, this eventually causes pain. But the pain isn’t always in the hip. It typically presents itself in the lumbar-pelvic region – bringing the patient into your office complaining of lower back pain.
The disturbance of the stability/mobility continuum can radiate outward, causing problems throughout the body over time. This concept, that seemingly unrelated parts of the body are actually the source or a contributor of the pain point, is what’s known as regional interdependence.
Using regional interdependence to diagnose accurately
Through regional interdependence analysis and diagnosis, physical therapists can find the actual cause of a patient’s pain. Understanding this concept allows for more accurate examinations, better diagnoses and ultimately enables clinicians to create comprehensive plans for improved lifelong function.
Understanding the stability/mobility continuum and regional interdependence allows clinicians to see beyond the traditional, and often vague, methods of treatment that miss the bigger picture. By observing how the musculoskeletal system functions as an interconnected whole, a complete diagnosis and treatment plan can be made – offering patients optimal and comprehensive care.
Discovering the Selective Functional Movement Assessment
The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) certification is for clinicians who treat patients with musculoskeletal pain and injuries. It’s a course that has designed a standardized algorithmic system, which aids clinicians in accurately identifying impaired movements and functions.
Through education, laboratory sessions covering full-body movement tests, corrective exercise strategies and practice for retention, clinicians walk away from the training able to fully incorporate this program into their practice immediately. The SFMA teaches healthcare professionals how to create individualized exercise prescriptions, help normalize dysfunctional movement and relieve pain.
Once you integrate the SFMA into your practice, you’ll be able to identify the true causes of dysfunctions and help restore mobility to mobile joints. After these adjustments, you’ll see the other joints correct themselves and stabilize – reducing pain and optimizing your treatments. By solving your patients’ true physical issues with the SFMA, and offering comprehensive and lasting results, your practice will stand out above the competition.
Applying the SFMA and the stability/mobility continuum
When there’s an injury or weakness, the body will shift movement in a predictable way to compensate for the impairment. Implementing the SFMA concepts helps clinicians move beyond “fixing” just the primary complaints – they can find the true culprits.
Clinicians who have incorporated the SFMA and the understanding of the stability/mobility continuum into their practices have the ability to enhance their diagnostic and therapeutic skills. These changes lead to more effective treatments and stronger, more impactful practices.
Hear Dr. Michael Voight explain this concept in deeper detail below! Learn the SFMA system and how to incorporate it into your practice in just a weekend! Sign up for the SFMA Certification Course today.