Terminology and Abbreviations | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Terminology and Abbreviations

Here is a terminology/acronym post for those of you following along and wondering what things like ERP, SFMA, DN, FN, etc mean.

Terms by System:
MDT - The McKenzie Method or Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy
PDM - pain during movement
ERP - end range pain
ANR - adherent nerve root
A - abolished, or Sx eliminated
C - centralized, Sx moving from periphery to a more proximal area
B - better, after a position/repeated motions, the Sx remain better
W - after a position/repeated motions, the Sx remain worse
incr - during a position/repeated motions, the Sx increase
decr - during a position/repeated motions, the Sx decrease
NW - Sx increase during position/repeated motions, but are no worse (not lasting increase)
NB - Sx decrease during position/repeated motions, but do not remain decreased

REIS - repeated extension in standing
REIL - repeated extension in lying
RFIS - repeated flexion in standing
RFIL - repeated flexion in lying
SGIS - sidegliding in standing
OP - overpressure

The SFMA - Selective Functional Movement Assessment
D - dysfunctional, aberrant or less movement
F - functional, normal movement patterns
P - painful
N - non-painful

So when rating a movement or pattern, you combine the terms, you want the FN, but first focus your treatments on the DN, or aberrant or limited movements that do not hurt

They can be quantified, which makes the less reliable but useful for documentation for limited motion like Functional Shoulder IR, DN, mod loss

The tests/movements are abbreviated as well
MSF - multisegmental flexion, measuring trunk, hip, shoulder/scapular motion
MSE - multisegmental extension, measuring trunk, hip ext, ankle df
MSR - multisegmental rotation, measuring trunk rotation, hip IR/ER, tibial IR, ER
DS - deep squat, measuring, hip flexion, knee flexion, ankle dorsiflexion, core mobility, shoulder mobility, thoracic extension, tibial IR
Shoulder FIR, FER - functional IR and ER scratch tests

  • shoulder by SFMA is MRE, medial rotation and extension and LRF, lateral rotation and flexion

SLS EO, EC - single leg stance eyes open, eyes closed
SL swing - single leg stance, NWB LE swinging into hip flexion/extension

The FMS, or Functional Movement Screen (or Systems), a 7 Pattern Movement Assessment to screen asymmetries

DS or ODS overhead deep squat with or without a dowel overhead
ILL - inline lunge pattern
TPU - trunk stability pushup
HS - hurdle step
ASLR - active straight leg raise
SM - shoulder mobility
RS - rotatory stability

These are easily googled and there are tons of videos including my FMS and SFMA.


  1. thanks. i needed this.

  2. Hello, I'm translating a phisiotherapy guide book for students into Polish. I need some quidance linguistic myself as I'm not into medicine whatsoever. The one of the words that concerns me is OVERPRESSURE. Could you please clarify the term and confirm that it is NOT about a high blood pressure? Looking forward to hearing from you. Darek Szpak (darekszpak@yahoo.co.uk)

  3. This is really helpful. Took me awhile to find it. I wonder if it might help others to have your email updates include an automatic blurb that says something like: A key to abbreviations and terminology can be found at my website. (and then include the link. this would also drive more traffic to your website. Thanks again for your continued great posts.

  4. I often heard my therapist and the one doing my foot massage toronto saying out acronyms to her assistant and now I get it why she's saying that. Thanks for the helpful guidelines you've provided us, I hope you also post some easy to do massage steps that we could do in our home even without visiting our therapist especially for the foot and hands. Thanks!

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