In a recent post, we discussed our experience learning the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). A large component of the SFMA is utilizing Rolling Patterns. These patterns are used whenever mobility is cleared and the patient has a pure stability or motor control dysfunction (SMCD). As Gray Cook states in Movement, "Rolling patterns offer a low-load opportunity to review symmetry and motor control, and are even less taxing than quadruped movements." Since the movement is so basic, strength is not what you are assessing. With rolling, the focus is directed toward sequencing, timing, breathing, upper extremity vs. lower extremity disassociation, and of course motor control. Gray also states, "Rolling and quadruped movement patterns are unique observations of fundamental reflex stabilization." In the developmental sequence, rolling is one of the most basic motor patterns. The SFMA assesses 8 different rolling patterns which are a combination of Left vs. Right, Supine vs. Prone, and Upper Extremity vs. Lower Extremity Patterning.
On our Multisegmental flexion post, we were asked a question regarding the difference between SFMA rolling and the PNF rolling patterns. From our understanding, the rationale behind both rolling assessments/interventions is the same. Both try to assess side to side symmetry and upper quarter vs. lower quarter symmetry. They both focus on the demands of timing and reflex stabilization. The difference (and not necessarily a difference, but rather treatment style) is how PNF elaborates further on ways to facilitate the incorrect pattern. Someone can definitely utilize different PNF facilitation and inhibition strategies to address rolling in the SFMA, but always allow the patient to self-select a method first before giving any external cues.
Without the ability to perform this basic movement properly, how can a patient expect to perform higher level movements?