In order for an effective manual therapy treatment programme to be chosen and instigated there has to be accurate clinical assessment of the patient’s condition or injury. This article discusses how the spine functions according to its structure, enabling the therapist to visualise the normal movement processes as well as how dysfunction can lead to injury. This improved understanding of the living spine allows a more accurate clinical assessment of any spine-associated impairments, permitting creation of an individually tailored treatment plan. This article has been adapted from chapter 6 ‘Spinal motions: structure and function’ from the author’s book Clinical Assessment For Massage Therapy: A Practical Guide.
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