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Learn the transverse process of C2 to C7

This is an excerpt from Clinical Guide to Musculoskeletal Palpation by Michael Masaracchio and Chana Frommer.


  • Patient: supine, with the cervical spine in neutral
  • Clinician: standing or sitting at the head of the table


  • Palpate the transverse processes of C1 bilaterally using the pads of both second digits.
  • While maintaining firm pressure, begin to move your fingers inferiorly approximately one finger-width to palpate the transverse processes of C2.
  • Continue to move your fingers in an inferior direction to assess and palpate the remaining transverse processes.

Clinical Pearl

These structures are extremely important during the examination of a patient with cervical or thoracic spine pain. Accurate palpation of these anatomical landmarks is imperative for joint mobility assessment. During palpation of the spinous and transverse processes, you can assess both the amount of movement available at each segment and the presence or absence of pain.

Read more from Clinical Guide to Musculoskeletal Palpation by Michael Masaracchio and Chana Frommer.

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Clinical Guide to Musculoskeletal Palpation

Clinical Guide to Musculoskeletal Palpation

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Clinical Guide to Musculoskeletal Palpation
Enhanced by photos and medical art that demonstrate palpation techniques of bony and soft tissue structures of the musculoskeletal system, this text assists students and health care professionals in learning the surface palpation techniques required for working in the manual therapy professions.
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