Historically, musculoskeletal disorders (in particular, those that originate in the spine) have been very poorly understood. Dr James Cyriax, an English physician (1904-1985), recognised this and developed what he referred to as Orthopaedic Medicine, a systematic method of examination and treatment designed to address these problems.

Since then, a number of specialists (in particular Geoff Maitland) have built upon this work.