Test for fracture or other damage of the lower cervical or upper thoracic vertebrae.

This test is useful when we suspect a fracture or damage of the lower cervical or upper thoracic joints.

The patient is supine, one hand is placed on the patient’s sternum to make sure that the thoracic region stays in flexion. The other hand is under the patient’s occiput.

The neck is then passively flexed towards the chest while maintaining gentle pressure on the sternum.

The test places traction on the posterior elements of the cervical and upper thoracic spine and compresses the anterior bodies and discs. It also causes traction on the spinal cord.

In the case of vertebral fracture, when the supraspinous ligament pulls on the

spinous process of the fractured element, acute local pain will result.

Luc Peeters, MSc.Ost.