Brachial plexus compression test

Purpose: 

Test for the presence of brachial plexus irritation.

Test procedure:

• The patient is seated.
• The examiner stands beside the patient supporting them.
• The examiner palpates firmly over the brachial plexus and instructs the patient to slowly side-bend their head away from the area being palpated.
• The patient may report increase in radicular pain or symptoms.

 

Test findings:

Positive if the patient reports an increase of radicular pain or symptoms in a non-dermatomal upper extremity region. Test is negative if symptoms do not change.
Positive test may indicate brachial plexus irritation, however if the symptoms provoked are dermatomal in distribution, there may be a cervical nerve root irritation.