Axial Cervical Compression

Purpose: 

Test for lesions to weight-bearing structures, the facets or for nerve root pathology.

Test procedure:

• The patient is seated.
• The examiner stands behind patient.
• The examiner places both hands with fingers locked over the patient’s head and exerts a gradual compressive force direct through the cervical spine.
• Observe the patient for pain or undue discomfort or for radicular symptoms.

Test findings:

Positive if radicular symptoms develop. Negative if symptoms are not provoked.

Positive test may indicate cervical nerve root compression or irritation. Local pain may also indicate prolapsed cervical disc, facet lesion, osteophytes or foraminal stenosis.