Shoulder Depression test is a cervical spine examination procedure that tests for radiculopathy, sprain or strain. The test is also used to evaluate the brachial plexus for lesions and to assess for plexopathies.


Patient should be awake and cooperative to perform the Shoulder Depression test.

  1. Patient may be supine or in a sitting position for this procedure.
  2. The patient laterally flexes her head away from the side that is being tested. The examiner helps the patient assume the position.
  3. The examiner concentrates on the side being tested and presses down on the patient’s shoulder.
  4. The examiner takes note of any localized pain or shoulder pain or arm pain as he presses on the patient’s shoulder.

The examiner puts pressure down on the shoulder while the head is flexed away.


Positive Shoulder Depression Test

There is positive Shoulder Depression test if there is:

  • Pain on the arm along the tested area; this could indicate radiculopathy.
  • Local pain; this could indicate sprain or strain in the area.

Clinical Notes

During the procedure, the examiner’s hand is placed on the patient’s head to stabilize it. The hand must not apply too much pressure.