The science of biomechanics helps explain the causes of cell, tissue, organ and body system disorders, and supports clinicians in the diagnosis, prognosis and evaluation of treatment methods and technologies. Clinical Biomechanics aims to strengthen the links between laboratory and clinic by publishing cutting-edge biomechanics research which helps to explain the causes of injury and disease, and which provides evidence contributing to improved clinical management. Clinical Biomechanics explores all facets of body system, organ, tissue and cell biomechanics, with an emphasis on medical and clinical applications of the basic science aspects. The role of basic science is therefore recognised in a medical or clinical context.
WHAT IS CLINICAL BIOMECHANICS?
Jo Abbott (MSc)
Hello, and welcome to my website.
Today, the health, fitness and well-being of the world’s population is my mission, my life’s work. And since 1991, my mission has taken me well beyond being a sports performance specialist and fitness professional, to being a Clinical Biomechanist, Anatomist, Nutritionist, Scientist, Researcher, innovator and inventor.
I’m currently a Doctorate student at the University of Chichester investigating important clinical biomechanics that underpin Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD). This entails merging my engineering and human anatomical and biomechanical degrees to investigate if it is possible to stop and/or reduce the premature ageing of biological tissue that drives MSD.
My interest in MSD stems from the devastating impact they have on people’s lives, businesses and the economy as a whole. The social costs of MSD are enormous, often over-shadowing those of other chronic conditions and are rapidly becoming a 21st century global epidemic. I had the pleasure of working alongside Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service as the MSK Consultant for 4.5 years and was able to implement all PhD paradigms to support reducing MSDs. Within the first 12 months days lost to back pain reduced by 63%, decreased the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders by 71%, and reduce minor illnesses by 68%.
In October 2019, I fulfilled a personal ambition and achievement by presenting my Doctorate MSD research at The World Congress of Low Back Pain and Pelvic Girdle Pain.
Doctorate: An accurate, reliable and valid musculoskeletal ‘test-to-correction’ protocol provides a critical framework for improving world health by reducing the global burden of musculoskeletal disorder, disease and disability.
My Personal Story
At the age of 8, due to prolific bullying at school because of my learning disabilities, I begun studying Martial Arts to support my mental health and physical safety. Having gained two black belts in two disciplines, I continue to practice and challenge myself each day in the practice of Asian martial arts.
After school, I eagerly pursued a career in electro-mechanical engineering. I benefited from some incredible opportunities as the lead engineer designing a range of innovations, from extreme environment hydraulic systems for heavy lifting vehicles to radio communications systems for our emergency services.
During this time my health deteriorated and at 22 years of age I weighed in at nearly 20 stone (10 stone over my healthy weight). I also suffered a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and a pulmonary embolism (PE). Eight months later I returned to work weighing in my ideal body weight of 10 stone. This was all thanks to the health and fitness industry and finding an incredible aerobics instructor called Sally-Ann Raffell, who truly saved my life.
The first Gulf War brought with it industrial recession and my opportunities to continue as a design engineer in the UK came to a dramatic end. In a twist of fate, there was another place for me and there’s no doubt in my mind that I owed my life to it – the health and fitness industry. I qualified in 1991 as a Personal Trainer and carried my enthusiasm for, and all the challenges it presented to, countless clients. These included the general public, celebrities and Olympic athletes and I went on to build and run a very successful business.
On a cold October morning in 2007, I woke to discover that I couldn’t move or feel my legs. After seven days in hospital, with diagnoses such as Guillain Barre Syndrome being discussed, I was finally diagnosed with retro spondylolisthesis and having two prolapsed lumbar discs. If that wasn’t unwelcome news enough, the consultant told me ‘You’ll never run, lift weights or do Martial Arts again’. Disappointingly, I had spent 12 months seeing many professional clinicians with symptoms that I now know were all signs of a ticking time bomb in my spine. That was a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD-1) metamorphosing to a Musculoskeletal Disease (MSD-2) which could have left me with a Musculoskeletal Disability (MSD-3).
Believing that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I changed direction within the health and wellbeing arena. I retired from Personal Training early and went back to school, well, university actually. I really needed to understand ‘how’ this had happened to me, but also how I could prevent it happening to others. As a result, I qualified as a Clinical Anatomist at Keele University in 2011 and as a Clinical Biomechanist at the University of Chichester in 2013. Both institutions and qualifications provided me with the tools to help me to develop a protocol to stop MSDO becoming a debilitating burden on the world’s economy and health.
My ethos is to continue to work alongside united teams of elite professionals who want to integrate their skills to bring the best possible approach to a patient’s health and wellbeing. In fact, collaborative working is vitally important to me.
My approach to a patient’s wellbeing is similarly ‘holistic,’ one where the biological (biomechanics and physiology of biological structures), psychological (thoughts, emotions, nutrition and behaviors), and social (socio-economical, socio-environmental, and cultural) factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness.
Video Testimonial of ‘How Jo works’
Having met Andry Vleeming many times, and constantly reminded by him that I needed to meet Diane, the time had come. In the Summer of 2014, Physio UK had announced Diane Lee was booked to teach a five-day Womens Health Course in Surrey, UK. I begged to attend the course (not being a Practitioner of Manual Therapy (PoMT), this is generally the barrier I receive when applying to attend PoMT specific courses) and was given permission to attend – along with three other bandits! February 2015 I met Diane, fully immersed myself in her course, and spent the whole course pacing the back of the room with so many questions, so many epiphanies, and most of all… a teacher in manual therapy who was approachable and who embraced inquisitive minds. I later learnt Diane facilitates a 12 months Clinical Mentorship programme in Canada – Upon requesting a place on this programme Diane spoke to me frankly about ensuring I made the time to be ready for the journey and no obstacles put in my way of learning. I attended the programme with the mindset to explore the hypotheses made within the Integrated Systems Model (ISM), to gain the understanding and application of hands-on data acquisition, and to remain ‘on the fence’ with each assessment process and conclusion by trying to falsify the system. In 2017 I started my Certification in the ISM, continuing my falsification mindset and adding specific parts of my PhD to the process, to later become Certified by Diane in the ISM.