Predicting the vertebral body position based on palpated spinous process position

Su Chun Cheng, Chih Kun Hsiao, Jui Yi Tsou, Ruey Mo Lin, Fong Chin Su

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Palpation is an essential skill of manual therapy. Clinical techniques of physical therapy usually assume that the moement direction of palpating spinous process (SP) is the direction of the ertebral body center (VBC). This study inestigated the distance [SP-projected VBC (PVBC)] between the surface palpation of the fie SPs and the radiographically projected ertebral center locations (PVBC) on the skin of the lumbar spine in 37 patients with low back pain (LBP). The measurement of SP-PVBC was intended to describe if palpation on SPs could explain the positions of the VBC. The SP-PVBC distance was the greatest at L1 (35.9 mm) and the smallest at L4 (15.1 mm). The predictie analysis inestigated the relationships between SP-PVBC and the geometric measurements of the lumbar anatomical structures. The geometric characteristics of the lumbar spine affected the SP-PVBC distance in different leels, with the R2 alues from 0.66-0.89, except 0.38 in the L4 leel. Increases in the SP inclination as well as ertebral inclinations, and increases in the SP height (SPH) were factors that were found to be significantly related to the SP-PVBC distance (p < 0.05). The results indicate that the orientation of the VBC and the SP may not be the same, and tilting and rotation of the ertebrae may occur when applying manual techniques through SPs. Physical therapists need to be aware that the tilting or rolling effect of ertebrae may not be aoidable once the treatment is done ia palpation on SPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14500109
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering

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