The Spurling Test is a neurological test used to determine whether or not someone has a cervical spine injury. It is named after its creator, Dr. Gordon Spurling. This test is often used in emergency situations to help determine the extent of an injury and whether or not surgery is necessary. In this blog post, we will discuss what the Spurling Test is, how it is performed, and what its benefits are!
What Is Spurling Test?
The Spurling test is a diagnostic maneuver used to determine whether neck pain is being caused by a herniated disc. Or other degenerative changes in the cervical spine. It is simply described as pushing down on the patient’s head while they are seated with their chin tucked into their chest.
If you are experiencing neck pain, your doctor may order a Spurling test as part of your diagnostic workup. This test can help provide clues about the source of your pain and guide treatment decisions. According to studies, the Spurling test is about 80-90% accurate in diagnosing herniated discs.
Therefore if you are having neck pain and your doctor suspects a herniated disc, the Spurling test may be ordered. The test is simple to perform and generally well tolerated by patients. It is important to note that the Spurling test is just one part of the diagnostic process. And should not be used as the sole means of diagnosis.
How Is The Spurling Test Performed?
The Spurling test is performed with the patient seated and their chin tucked into their chest. The doctor will then apply downward pressure on the top of the patient’s head while simultaneously rotating their head to the side. This maneuver puts pressure on the cervical spine and can help to identify which nerve root may be causing the patient’s pain.
Moreover, the Spurling test can also help to rule out other potential causes of neck pain, such as a herniated disc or cervical stenosis. Because this type of test is relatively simple and quick to perform, it can be a helpful tool in diagnosing neck pain.
It is believed that there are some variations of the Spurling test. One such variation is the Jannetta test, which is performed in a similar fashion but with the patient’s head rotated to the other side. Another test is the Stripping test, which is performed by placing the patient’s head in a neutral position and then quickly moving it to one side.
What Does A Positive Spurling Test Mean?
Many people with cervical radiculopathy or other neck pain problems will have a positive Spurling test. This simply means that their pain is worsened when their head is moved in certain ways. The Spurling test is used to help diagnose the source of neck pain.
In simple words, this test is used to see if your neck pain is being caused by a pinched nerve in your spine. The positive results of the test can describe the location and intensity of the pinched nerve.
For example, if the pain is only felt when the head is moved to the right, this would suggest that the right nerve root is being pinched. If the pain is worse when the chin is brought down towards the chest, this suggests that the lower cervical nerve roots are involved. Thus, if you have a positive Spurling test, your doctor will be able to better pinpoint the source of your neck pain.
How Accurate Is It?
The accuracy of the Spurling test has not been measured in clinical studies. However, according to a study published in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,” the Spurling test had a success rate of 95 percent. And when used to diagnose cervical radiculopathy, which is a condition that results when a nerve in the neck is compressed.
It is believed that the Spurling test is accurate because it specifically targets the nerve that is causing the pain. The test is also easy to perform and does not require any special equipment. For example, the doctor can simply use his or her hands to apply pressure to the neck.
Sometimes, the test results are normal and the person does not have cervical radiculopathy. In this case, the doctor may order other tests. However, the Spurling test is generally considered to be a reliable method for diagnosing this condition.
Who Performs the Test?
It might be confusing for patients when their doctor or chiropractor tells them they need a Spurling test. What exactly is this test and what can it tell the practitioners? Here’s a quick overview of the Spurling test and how it might help you get to the root of your pain.
The Spurling test is performed by your practitioner putting pressure on the top of your head. While you bend your neck forward and to the side. This pressure on the top of your head is meant to reproduce the symptoms you’re experiencing. If the Spurling test reproduces your pain, it’s likely that your pain is coming from a pinched nerve in your neck.
There are several types of professionals that can perform the Spurling test. Doctors, chiropractors, and physiatrists (a type of doctor that specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) are all likely to use this test as part of their diagnosis.
So, it is important to understand that this test is not something that is done randomly. Your practitioner likely has a reason to believe that your pain is coming from your neck and that a pinched nerve is a cause.
What Are The Benefits Of the Spurling Test?
There are many benefits that come with Spurling Test. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Help you find the source of your pain.
- A non-invasive way to test for nerve impingement.
- Quick and easy to perform.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Does not require any special equipment.
The benefits are numerous, but the main ones are that it is quick, easy, and relatively painless. There are no needles involved and it is non-invasive. The test only takes a few minutes to perform, and you can usually get results immediately.
If you are experiencing neck pain, numbness, or tingling in your arms or hands. Then, this test may be able to help you find the source of your problem. It is a quick and easy way to test for nerve impingement, and it is relatively inexpensive. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor about the Spurling Test if you think it may be helpful for you.
What Other Tests Are Involved With This?
There are other tests that are often used alongside the Spurling test to give your doctor a more comprehensive picture of what is going on with your neck and spine. These other tests might include:
- Cervical compression test: It is also known as the cervical compression-distraction test. During this test, your doctor will gently press down on your head while you are lying flat on your back. The goal is to see if this movement causes any pain or other symptoms in your neck.
- Upper extremity tension test: This test is also sometimes called the arm tension test. For this test, your doctor will ask you to raise your arms above your head while you are lying down. The goal is to see if this movement causes any pain or other symptoms in your neck, shoulders, or arms.
- Shoulder abduction test: This test is also sometimes called the military Bridge test. For this test, your doctor will ask you to lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Then, your doctor will raise both of your legs up in the air while keeping your hips and lower back flat on the ground. The goal is to see if this movement causes any pain or other symptoms in your neck, shoulders, or arms.
- Adson test: In some cases, this test is also used alongside the Spurling test. For this test, your doctor will ask you to turn your head to one side and then extend your neck. The goal is to see if this movement causes any pain or other symptoms in your neck.
Your doctor will likely use a combination of these tests, as well as other tests and exams, to arrive at a diagnosis. If you have neck pain, it’s important to see your doctor so that the cause can be found and treated. Otherwise, the pain might continue or even get worse.
In conclusion, the Spurling test can be a helpful tool in diagnosing various conditions and injuries. If you think you may have a condition or injury that could be helped by this test, be sure to talk to your doctor about it. You may find relief from pain and other symptoms that you didn’t even know were there.
Hence, if you are looking for a reliable and accurate method to diagnose your condition, consider this test. It may just be the key to finding the right treatment for you.
Further, your doctor will prescribe you some physical therapy to help you with the condition. Physical Therapy help patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back pain, Shoulder pain, Knee pain, Neck pain, Elbow pain, Hip pain, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at MantraCare can help: Book a physiotherapy session.