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J Man Manip Ther. 2015 Jul;23(3):128-38.

Biomechanics of the thorax - research evidence and clinical expertise.

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Diane Lee & Associates, Suite 102 15303 31st Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada.


Understanding the biomechanics of the thorax is critical for understanding its role in multiple conditions since the thorax is part of many integrated systems including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiac, digestive and urogynecological. The thorax is also an integrated system within itself and an element of the whole body/person. Therefore, understanding the biomechanics of the thorax is fundamental to all forms of treatment for multiple conditions. The interpretation of movement examination findings depends on one's view of optimal biomechanics and the influential factors. This article will provide a synopsis of the current state of research evidence as well as observations from clinical experience pertaining to the biomechanics of the thorax in order to help clinicians organise this knowledge and facilitate evidence-based and informed management of the, often complex, patient with or without thoracic pain and impairment. The integrated systems model (ISM) will be introduced as a way to determine when the noted biomechanical findings are relevant to a patient's clinical presentation.


Biomechanics; Biomechanics of the thorax; Clinical expertise; Integrated Systems Model; Thoracic ring; Thorax

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