Finding the Right Spot To Feel The Transverse Process

Doctors and therapists treating the thoracic spine (middle of the back) have some special challenges. The anatomy of the thoracic spine is different from the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (low back). The bones of the thoracic spine are the transition units from cervical to lumbar spine.

In this study, physical therapists test a new model for finding the transverse processes (TP) of the thoracic spine. The TP is a bony extension out to the side of the vertebral bone. It connects to the rib on either side of the vertebrae. Restoring normal alignment and motion at this connection is important for some patients with shoulder, neck, or back pain.

But finding the exact spot of the TP can be difficult. It's not close to the surface of the skin. Some examiners use the spinous process (SP) to help them find the TP. But the shape and direction of the SP changes from the top of the bottom of the thoracic spine. The spinous process is the bump you feel along the middle of your back. Using this landmark to locate the TP may not be reliable.

To find the best way to locate the TPs, researchers dissected 15 cadavers. They removed the soft tissues over the TPs and SPs. They inserted pins into the SPs and TPs of each thoracic vertebra. Then they used a digital caliper to measure the distances between these two points. They took into consideration how far apart the fingers have to be to feel contact points.

The authors report that if you find the SP and palpate (feel) just to the side of it, you'll be on the TP of the vertebra one level above. This holds true throughout the thoracic spine.

This model replaces the previously used Rule of Threes model. The old model used the SPs to find the TPs. This method tried to adjust for the change in angle of the SP from vertebra to vertebra. The new model shows this is not necessary. However, this new model may not always apply to the last two thoracic vertebrae (T11 and T12) because of how much they vary in position from person to person.

Michael A. Greelhoed, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, et al. A New Model to Facilitate Palpation of the Level of the Thoracic Processes of the Thoracic Spine. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. November 2006. Vol. 36. No. 11. Pp. 876-881.

 Post to

 Email to a Friend


Very nice and helpful

Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. It’s a most important post. Please every one visit this site quickly. Thanks.

Suzuki Steering Parts

Hello everyone, have a nice

Hello everyone, have a nice article. I read this post and get lot of important news. I sharing this post some of my close friends and they accede to visit this site. Thanks


I am glad I came across your

I am glad I came across your blog today as it will now be part of my daily reading. I think ur blog is great for providing to everybody something unique to know.The information you provide is really helpful,wholesale nike shoes. Well I hope everybody will be inspire to see your this effort and will be appreciate also &.check this too:nike shoes wholesale

I am agree to visit this

I am agree to visit this site and read this post.Because this post has many important things. I am really happy for knowing this great post.



If you are like me, you will want to flatten your post pregnancy tummy and lose some weight so that your back feels a TON better!

Thanks for this read mate,

Thanks for this read mate, Great announcement. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the precious time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting articles you share here!
Discount Broadway Tickets

This is amazing information

This is amazing information on thoracic spine. How the doctors removed the soft tissues over the TPs and SPs is mind boggling even to imagine. It'll be a pleasure to explore this site and explore more on different tests and medical examinations. Expense ratio

The transverse processes

The transverse processes located in the cervical portion of the spine connect muscles and ligaments to the small vertebrae in the neck region of the spine. In this area, the processes have what is known as transverse foramina. These act as passageways for the arteries that lead to the brain. The transverse processes in this area also help to support and balance the head while giving the head the ability to turn from side to side. I've read it in one of the free essays .

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Back to top

MySpace Tracker