Swallowing test is a cervical spine examination procedure that tests for dysphagia, irritation of the esophagus, SOL, cervical fracture and tumor. This is a test that determine if the cause of pain during swallowing is trigger points along the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM).


Patient should be awake and cooperative in performing the swallowing test..

  1. Patient should be seated for the procedure.
  2. The patient drinks water from a glass.
  3. The examiner takes note of any pain or difficulty of swallowing.

Patient drinks water to test for any pain upon swallowing.


Positive Swallowing Test

There is positive Swallowing test when the patient finds it difficult or painful to swallow water or dysphagia. These signs indicate the presence of esophageal irritation, cervical fracture, tumor, sprain or strain or space-occupying lesions.

Clinical Notes

Dysphagia is common after whiplash injuries along the cervical spine but will usually go away without any treatment. Aside from noting for pain and discomfort, the examiner also checks for deviation of the esophagus and trachea.