Clinical Biomechanics

The Centre of Clinical Biomechanics is rapidly growing, focusing on multidisciplinary research into the dynamics of the human spine and other multi-joint systems.

Watching the spine move

  • To develop tools for the measurement and interpretation of dynamics and stresses in the musculoskeletal system.


  • To conduct multidisciplinary and collaborative research into biomechanical measures for the diagnosis of musculoskeletal pain and disability.

The CBR is the birthplace of quantitative fluoroscopy (QF), a measurement tool for spinal segmental kinematics that can be safely performed in living people. Starting in the 1980s by exploring methods for image registration, we added standardisation of image recording so that data could be compared between individuals and groups of participants. With a grant from the NHS New and Emerging Applications of Technology Programme in 2001 (Project B030), the patient perspective was added, along with automated image tracking.

There followed two decades of technology transfer support activity and validation studies to enable the use of QF as a clinical tool. In the clinical studies that followed, a database of normative kinematic information was built, along with more advanced data analysis methods that took greater advantage of the dynamic information that the technology provides. These improvements enabled the discovery of a probable biomechanical marker in chronic, nonspecific low back pain.

The latest addition to our research has come from a collaboration with the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter, with which we have begun to combine QF and 3D MRI to model the stresses between vertebrae dynamically using finite element analysis.

The Centre has specialist expertise in medical physics and clinical biomechanics. We have access to a dedicated QF lab for both projects and development, an on-site upright, open MRI scanner and other biomechanical measurement devices.


  • Professor Alan Breen DC, PhD,  Director
  • Dr Alexander Breen BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MTechnology Lead and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  • Mrs Linda Bruce (Administrator)

  • Dr Fiona Mellor, BSc (Hons), PhD. Visiting Research Fellow, Poole Hospital NHS Trust

  • Dr Jonathan Branney, BN(Hons), MChiro, PgCert, PhD. Visiting Research Fellow, Bournemouth University

  • Dr Alister du Rose, BSc (Hons), MChiro, PgCert, PhD. Bournemouth University

  • Mr Philip Carvil, BSc(Hons), MSc (University of Chichester) MSc, (University of London)  PhD Candidate. Kings College London.

  • Ms Megan Watts, Student Research Assistant. (Bournemouth University)