Brachial Plexus Compression Test

Physical Assessment | Spinal Orthopaedics | Cerival Spine

Brachial Plexus Compression Test is used to differentiate between radicular pain as a result of nerve root compression (or thoracic outlet Syndrome) and local cervical strain or sprain. The compression test is a provocative test, designed to compresses the brachial plexus.


Procedure

    Patient seated, examiner applies compressive force over the brachial plexus (squeeze brachial plexus between fingers & thumb) for a duration of 10 seconds

Interpretation

Positive Radicular symptoms = Nerve root compression, thoracic outlet Syndrome, anterior scalene syndrome
Positive Local pain or discomfort = Cervical strain/sprain

Clinical Notes

When performing maneuver, the examiner must be sure that they are not compressing the common carotid artery or any other vascular tissue supplying the head as it may result in undesired side effects.