Pain-Free Movement Specialist by Function First

by Anthony Carey, MA

Earn 1.2 ACE or NASM CECs

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Expand your business and influence with a Pain-free Movement Specialist Certificate

As a Pain-Free Movement Specialist, you will better understand how pain affects movement and how to create new strategies to help people move without pain. Pain is incredibly complex and involves multiple factors. This is why linear processes, such as release then lengthen, stretch then strengthen, and activate then integrate, are often ineffective. Understanding how the body functions as a whole is critical to eliminating chronic pain (for good!)

Learn the exercise alternative to pain relief

Learning corrective exercise along with the skills to work with people in pain gives you the opportunity to expand your business. It enables you to specialize in a variety of growing populations, including baby boomers, seniors, post-rehab clients and other special populations with musculoskeletal issues.

You'll be qualified to help more people eliminate their pain and improve their level of function, health and wellness using the most effective, non-invasive method possible.

Join us as we shed insight on how seemingly microscopic changes through the implementation of decisive corrective exercises can create profound improvements in your clients, patients and athletes' lives.

Our mission is to provide you, the movement or manual therapist, the corrective exercise intelligence and movement based strategies required for creating lasting change.

This is not a program to treat, diagnose or otherwise provide medical intervention. Strategic exercise programing is the vehicle used along with respect and consideration of the many factors associated with the pain Neuromatrix.


To become a Pain-Free Movement Specialist, you must complete all six modules and the corresponding quizzes. The total course time is approximately 12 hours, and includes videos, written content in downloadable PDFs, and a copy of Anthony Carey's eBook, The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain.

The online curriculum is required to be eligible to attend our live events and provides the foundational background knowledge necessary to further enhance your programming and skill set with increasingly more challenging client scenarios.

Course Description:

Chronic pain can be physically, mentally and emotionally crippling—and it's not easy to remedy. People living with chronic pain suffer every day. Many turn to painkilling medications for short-term relief, but the pain never fully goes away—and the side effects are rarely worth it.

There is a better way: Movement.

If you have ever wanted to help someone in pain but were not quite sure how, we are here to guide you through the process. With almost 3 decades of experience and evidence-based strategies, the PFMS is the only program of its kind.

Available Course Credits


Course Content

Pain-Free Movement Specialist by Function First


This online curriculum has been specifically designed for those who understand that personal fulfillment comes from servicing those in need yet may not have the proper insights and tools to work with individuals in pain.

Through this deep and immersive program, you will discover that the critical forces behind corrective exercise prosperity lies in understanding the interdependencies of the body as it functions as a whole biomechanically, neurologically and psychologically.

Level 1 has six modules, all of which are the foundation that the Pain-Free Movement Specialist (PFMS) stands on. With over 12 hours of video content, webinars, PDF's and Anthony's book, The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain. Modules include:

Module 1 - Functional Anatomy & Biomechanics: A Unified View

Traditional anatomy and biomechanics have looked at human movement primarily through an isolated frame of reference. More specifically, single muscles acting on a lever system to produce motion. In this module, both Anthony and Kevin will describe how understanding functional anatomy and whole-body biomechanics is essential for the movement and manual practitioner to comprehend, and the profound results this understanding can have with any client, patient or athlete.

Module 2 - The Sensory Motor System

In an effort to simplify the understanding of human movement, traditional perspectives take stability and mobility and separate them into two completely independent entities. In actuality, stability and mobility never work in isolation. The nervous system is decidedly sophisticated and to comprehend how stability and mobility work together as an interdependent system, one must appreciate how the body gathers information, interprets it and then produces an appropriate response.

This intricate process takes place via the sensory-motor system. In this module, follow Anthony as he elaborates on the power of the nervous system and dives deep into the principles behind a body-wide "software" system which is essential for understanding sensory-motor integration.

Module 3 - Coaching Necessities

What does a successful corrective intervention look like to the client in pain and how can we understand and appreciate how they've defined it? A skilled practitioner recognizes how to promptly develop a working relationship with their clientele to understand and appreciate how pain has negatively impacted an individual's thoughts, feelings and beliefs regarding their movement.

Join Kevin Murray and international speaker Bobby Cappuccio as they share their expertise on the two domains of relationship; the intrapersonal affiliation we have with ourselves and the interpersonal relationship we must learn how to develop with our clients.

Module 4 - The Function First Approach to the Client & Pain

What is pain? What purpose does it serve? How is it the exact same situation can be painful for one person and not another? Here's the truth: pain is highly complex. There is no "one size fits all" approach. And working with individuals in chronic pain demands a foundational understanding of the biological, psychological and social factors that influence and contribute to an individual's pain experience.

In this module, Anthony will explain pain from a three-dimensional science-based perspective, moving far beyond the traditional lens of muscles and meridians into a vastly more robust and comprehensive analysis.

Module 5 - The Function First Approach to Movement Assessments

Written within each of our clients are particular events and circumstances that have influenced their quality of movement and overall function. With the Function First Approach, the assessment process is fundamental to uncovering what is behind each individual's unique movement profile. Because what's "functional" is always specific to the individual, determining which corrective exercises are best suited for a client's movement autonomy comes from the information gathered through the movement assessments.

Join Anthony as he maps the Function First Approach to movement assessments and lays the foundation to understanding and interpreting the results.

Module 6 - Corrective Exercise Programming Essentials

The Function First Approach is founded on the premise that true restoration and pain-free living lie in addressing the body as a whole. Yet, when it comes to exercise selection and program design, nothing should be left to chance. There must be an ultimate purpose and clear end in mind when selecting exercises and designing corrective programs. Ascending a client through their exercise program from the cognitive to autonomic phases of motor learning provides an optimal environment for clients to maximize their quality of movement.

And being able to justify the biomechanical, neurological, physiological and psychological aspects of programming is what elevates a Pain-Free Movement Specialist into an elite category of movement expertise. Within this module, Anthony will expand on the science, principles and framework behind what makes the Function First Approach to corrective exercise programming so successful.


Anthony Carey, holds a Master’s degree in biomechanics and athletic training and is the inventor of the Core-Tex™. Anthony is recognized internationally as a leading expert in biomechanics, corrective exercise, functional anatomy and motor control. He was named Personal Fitness Professional Magazine’s 2009 Personal Trainer of the Year and has received recognition for his work in the national media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine and Oprah’s “O” Magazine. Anthony has authored two best-selling books: The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulders and Joint Pain and Relationship and Referrals: A Personal Trainer’s Guide to Doing Business with the Medical Community, and consults for the Los Angeles Chargers as well as some of the largest equipment manufacturers and health clubs in the world.

Anthony Carey is the CEO and founder of Function First. He is also the author of The Pain Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain, published by John Wiley and Sons.


Kevin Murray holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and is the founder of Movement Masterminds, Director of Education for Function First, Creator of the Yellow Brick Road and Co-creator of the Pain-Free Movement Specialist certification.

Previous to his role with Movement Masterminds and Function First, Kevin was an Associate Teacher for Anatomy Trains® and Sessional Instructor at Canada’s largest polytechnic, post-secondary institute in the Health Sciences department teaching Biomechanics.

Kevin has provided educational insights for multiple organizations, along with being a featured author in Fitness Informer magazine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Post, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, and the Montreal Gazette. In 2012, Kevin was the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s (CSEP) Certified Personal Trainer of the Year Award.

Our philosophy is simple; meeting you where you need to be met both physically and emotionally. We tailor our exercise programs based off not only your physical goal and capabilities, but also your preference for movement. We believe there is nothing worse in an exercise program than making someone do something they absolutely dread or fear, regardless of how beneficial we believe it is.

Pain is a complex experience and it affects everyone differently. As such, we listen first and move second.

First and foremost, we are movement coaches. However, movement for the chronic pain sufferer is more than motion. It must be strategic, efficient, non-provocative and confidence building. As such, we follow the current body of research that views pain from a bio-psycho-social paradigm.

Your success is dependent upon many things. Our responsibility is to provide you with the best possible exercise program for your situation and educate you on the science behind pain and what tools you have at your exposure to make the progress you desire.


"Function First has put together a great educational tool with their Pain-Free Movement Specialist program. I have personally completed level 1 and 2 and both enhanced my ability to understand movement, the body, and the Biopsychosocial Model. From initial assessments to taking a client through a workout and everything in between, the PFMS program is there to support you with a wealth of information and knowledge. I also completed the hands-on workshop for level 2 participants that provided a safe, supportive environment to enhance what was taught in level 1. Today, I still reference techniques taught in the program with my clients with great results."
   Matt Boyer MS, CPT
   Adjunct Faculty at Indiana UniversityMaster Instructor at National Academy of Sports Medicine

"Whenever I make investments in furthering my professional education I look for information I can use on Monday, a.k.a. “Monday-worthy” information. The Pain Free Movement Specialist has delivered that and much more. The principles, strategies and techniques explained in the program will give anyone who embraces this information the confidence to co-create with their clients programs that will make them move and feel better. Having been in the Fitness and Strength & Conditioning fields for over 20 years I have received multiple certifications and specializations ranging from corrective exercise to sports specific training. This is a must for anyone working with movement and the human body."
   Kenneth Miller, MS
   NASM Master Trainer, CES, PES, FMS, TPI Fitness L-3, NG360 Golf Performance Specialist

“The Pain Free Movement Specialist Certification Program takes you on in-depth journey into the field of Corrective Exercise and Pain Science utilizing sound biomechanics, principles and strategies to address your clients needs. The real-world tangible benefits from this program were evident immediately as I not only became confident but also proficient and successful at working with my clients suffering from various forms of pain. I highly recommend the Pain Free Movement Specialist Certification for anyone looking to set themselves apart from the rest, who has a desire to learn proven and successful strategies and who wants to master the intricate in’s and out’s of both Corrective Exercise and Pain Science!"
   Reyci Martorel, MS, CSCS, CES, CPT


Q: Is this course approved for CECs/CEUs?
A: Yes this course is approved by ACE for 1.2 CECs.

Q: Why isn't the course available for me in the IDEA Platform?
A: The course needs to be completed on the Function First Platform. Once you purchase the course through IDEA's platform, an email will be sent to you from Function First, within 2 business days, welcoming you and giving you access to the course on their site.

Q. How do I become a Pain-Free Movement Specialist?
A. To become a Pain-Free Movement Specialist, you must complete all six modules and the corresponding quizzes. The total course time is approximately 12 hours, and includes videos, written content in downloadable PDFs, and a copy of Anthony Carey's eBook, The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain.

About the Author

Anthony Carey, MA

Anthony Carey, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Anthony Carey, MA, owns Function First in San Diego, California. He holds a masters degree in biomechanics and athletic training, and is an internationally-recognized speaker on biomechanics, posture, motor control and musculoskeletal pain and function. As a best-selling author, his work has been featured in the New York Times and Time Magazine. Anthony is also the inventor of the Core-Tex and Core-Tex Sit and creator of the Pain-Free Movement Specialist curriculum.

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