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92 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 9 technique CLINICAL EXPLORATIONS Understanding Assessment Biomechanics By Whitney Lowe The physical examination component of a comprehensive assessment includes the application of crucial knowledge and skills for the massage therapist—called assessment biomechanics. Performing these skills and analyzing the results form a critical core of the practitioner's success in treating pain and injury conditions. Accurate assessment provides a foundational understanding of the client's current condition and is the driver of treatment decisions. There are numerous methods of musculoskeletal assessment. Yet, one thing they all share is the recognition of biomechanical forces that may be the source of specific pain complaints. The application and analysis of mechanical forces within assessment strategies is what makes up assessment biomechanics. WHAT ARE BIOMECHANICS? The term biomechanics, as it applies to musculoskeletal function, is often misunderstood or used inaccurately. Biomechanics is the study of mechanical forces applied to biological systems. There are five types of biomechanical force that soft tissues are subject to: compression, tension, torsion, bending, and shear. The majority of biomechanical tissue injuries result from just two of these—compression (when

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