Scopes of Practice

There are three different scopes one can use to find the source of dysfunction: telescopes, periscopes, and stethoscopes. Keep in mind that the selection and use of each tool has the same goal: to determine the cause of pain and develop a treatment plan accordingly.


photo credit:

Human eyes, of course, must be the first course of measure. Without sight and the ability to interpret what you’re seeing, a telescope is worthless. As useful as they are in magnifying points of interest, you’ve got to know what you’re aiming at.  If you search the sky through the narrow lens of a telescope, you’ll be searching for a long time.  You’ve got to have an approximation of where to start.  This is where Gray Cook’s FMS (Functional Movement Screen) comes in.  The FMS is a quick assessment using standardized movement competencies to determine limitations and possible asymmetries.  It amplifies areas of weakness.  Feedback from the seven movement tests guide you in the right direction.  Once you recognize where to look, you can deeply focus on the joint, motor pattern, or issue of control.


photo credit:

Periscopes are designed to see around obstacles.  In most instances regarding movement, this is pain. Gray’s developed a tool for this too, called the SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment). It has a built in movement reduction system for simplifying motion to it’s most basic level.  You are using your periscope to identify the cause of restriction or interference.  The presence of pain lets you know that something is happening that shouldn’t be.  The SFMA gives you a breakdown of what to do with that joint, motor pattern, or control issue once you’ve got it in your crosshairs.  You’re either going to manipulate stability, mobility, or the sequence of motor unit firing.  You’re given a plan of attack to strategize and make the right adjustments.  When results improve in a retest, you know your intervention was right.

photo credit:

Stethoscopes are meant for listening.  They’re tuned in to certain sounds to determine functionality.
Take a deep breath.  Now exhale.  You ask and they do.  There’s a procedure in place, with a predetermined measure of normality and abnormality.  You’re checking for any anomalies.  You’re checking for areas of concern that you can’t see.

This is where motor control and sequencing issues come in.  You’re basically re-programming the brain.  We’re getting into DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) here.  Charlie Weingroff is an avid student of this method and posts about it often.  It involves developmental kinesiology and primitive patterns (overriding poor ‘learned’ patterns by bringing you back to the pre-wired motor development of a baby), breathing mechanisms, muscular sequencing, and core stability/activations.

The brain controls how the muscles move, and we’re “tricking” that brain into a reset.

Complicated stuff indeed, but fascinating.  And VALUABLE.

Each scope has its purpose and moment in the evaluation process.  There are tools available to use.  Though they were designed by particular people for particular people (astronomers, naval officers, and doctors), ‘regular people’ can obtain the same information from them if they understand their intent and objective.  Systems have been put in place by very smart people so that they CAN be used on a broader scale.  There’s no need to reinvent something that works.  The people developing these theories and structures are giving them away.  The intelligent thing to do is pay attention and take advantage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *