Chapter 4:
A Primer on Chiropractic Listings


Chiropractors use a variety of different systems to indicate the deviation of a motor unit from its normal position. While a comprehensive survey is far beyond the scope of this document, the following information should prove helpful to anyone attempting to understand a chiropractic listing.

Spinal segments:

The following abbreviations are commonly used to refer to segments of the spinal column and pelvis:

C0, O: Occiput T9: Ninth thoracic
OC: Occipital condyle T10: Tenth thoracic
C1, A: Atlas T11: Eleventh thoracic
C2, AX: Axis T12: Twelfth thoracic
C3: Third cervical L1: First lumbar
C4: Fourth cervical L2: Second lumbar
C5: Fifth cervical L3: Third lumbar
C6: Sixth cervical L4: Fourth lumbar
C7: Seventh lumbar L5: Fifth lumbar
T1: First thoracic [or dorsal] S: Sacrum
T2: Second thoracic S1: First sacral segment
T3: Third thoracic S2: Second sacral segment
T4: Fourth thoracic S3: Third sacral segment
T5: Fifth thoracic S4: Fourth sacral segment
T6: Sixth thoracic S5: Fifth sacral segment
T7: Seventh thoracic CO: Coccyx
T8: Eighth thoracic IL: Ilium

 Additionally, some of the prominent landmarks of spinal segments are abbreviated below. These landmarks are often used as points of reference to define the orientation of the vertebra within a three-dimensional space:

SP: spinous process L: lamina
TP: transverse process P: pedicle
M: mamillary process B: body

Direction of Vertebral Misalignment:

A bone or spinal segment is usually "listed" in the direction it deviates from normal. The following abbreviations are commonly used. The international coordinate system 1 , which is often used in biomechanical research, is described in parenthesis:

Two-Dimensional Translational Motion:

: Anterior (+Z)
P: Posterior (-Z)
R: Right (-X)
L: Left (+X)
S: Superior or cephalad (+Y)
I: Inferior or caudal (-Y)
EX: External
IN: Internal

Three-Dimensional Motion:

Clockwise rotation: (+q )
Counterclockwise rotation: (-q )

F: Flexion (+q X)
E: Extension (-q X)
LLF: Left lateral flexion (-q Z)
RLF: Right lateral flexion (+q Z)
RR: Right spinous rotation (+q Y)
LF: Left spinous rotation (-q Y)

Examples of Combination Listings:

These two components of location and direction are often combined to describe a bone or motor segment which has deviated from its normal position. For example,

L5 PL:   5th lumbar vertebra has deviated with spinous rotated to the left.
                (This would be comparable to a BR listing)

C6 PLI:   6th cervical vertebra has deviated with its spinous rotated to the left and inferior.

C4 BR:   4th cervical vertebra has deviated with its bofy rotated to the right.
                (This would be comparable to a PL listing)

T6 RP:   6th thoracic vertebra has deviated with the body posterior on the right



1. White A, Panjabi M. Clinical biomechanics of the spine. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1978


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