Indications

Jackson Compression test is a cervical spine examination procedure used to determine joint damage, meniscoid entrapment or muscle strain. It is a confirmatory test for cervical spine nerve root compression which causes neck pain.

Procedure

Patient should be awake and cooperative for the Jackson Compression test.

  1. Patient should be seated for the procedure.
  2. The patient rotates her head to one side as the examiner applies a downward pressure over the head.
  3. The patient rotates her head to the opposite side and the examiner applies a downward pressure over the head.
  4. The examiner assesses the patient for any local or peripheral pain.

Examiner applies downward pressure as the head is rotated to one side.

Interpretation

Positive Jackson Compression Test

There is positive Jackson Compression test when the following is seen:

  • Increased localized pain; this could indicate joint damage, meniscoid entrapment or muscle pain.
  • Increased peripheral pain; this could indicate pressure on nerve roots (IVF encroachment or radiculopathy).

Clinical Notes

Jackson Compression test may also elicit VBI-type symptoms since it also compresses the vertebral artery. VBI-type symptoms include dizziness, vertigo and nystagmus).