Palpation identification of spinous processes in the lumbar spine

Joanne C. Harlick, Stephan Milosavljevic and Peter D. Milburn

The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of manipulative physiotherapists in palpating radiologically identified lumbar spinous processes (SPs).

Five experienced manipulative physiotherapists were each allocated a cohort of 15 consecutive low back pain (LBP) patients presenting for X-rays and were asked to use surface palpation to identify the L1, L3 and L5 SPs. The results show that seventy-two percent of markers were either placed accurately over the nominated SP or consistently within one SP of the nominated level. Forty-seven percent were accurately placed over the nominated SPs. The authors conclude that the manipulative physiotherapists used in this study appear to be moderately successful in either palpating a nominated SP or being no more than one spinal level in error.

Manual Therapy, Volume 12, Issue 1, February 2007, Pages 56-62

View Absrtact

Full article with Athens login