The biomechanical assessment of the spine differs from that of the extremities, as firstly it is a linked multijoint complex although the extremity joints are single. The extremity muscles are discrete and isolated, although the spinal muscles as seen below blend with each other, preventing individual muscle assessment in vivo. Thus all spine ligament and muscle functional assessment is indirect with single motion segment bench testing or with computer modeling, with inadequate information as to the in vivo length and cross-sectional area of the individual muscles and their activity in different physiological activities.

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