Cervical distraction test is useful in accessing facet joint integrity as well as nerve root compression (radiculopathy) in the cervical spine.
- Patient seated
- Examiner gently elevates patient’s head axially.
A positive test is the reduction or elimination of symptoms with traction.
Positive Cervical Distraction Test
- Positive Decreased peripheral pain: Decreased pressure on nerve roots (IVF encroachment, radiculopathy).
- Positive Decreased local pain: Facet impingement.
- Positive Increased local pain: Muscle or ligament strain.
If patient experiences a reduction in pain with cervical distraction, this test may indicate an appropriate treatment method for their condition (consider using cervical distraction techniques in your treatment protocol).