Slump Test

The slump test assesses sciatic pain by determining if symptoms like pain, numbness, or tingling result from sciatic nerve compression or irritation.


What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe back pain that shoots down into the legs. It’s not a specific injury, but rather a symptom of various conditions affecting the sciatic nerve. One common cause is a ‘slipped disc’. Even, simple movements like bending over to pick something up can trigger sciatic pain. Typically, it begins with sudden lower back pain that spreads into the buttocks, back of the thigh, and lower leg.

How to perform the slump test:

Firstly, seat the patient on the edge of a table or chair. Keep their legs straight and their back upright. Then, ask them to bend their neck forward, chin to chest. This stretches the spine’s neural structures, including the sciatic nerve.

While they hold this position, have them bend one knee toward their chest, then the other. This action increases tension on the nerves, especially the sciatic nerve in the thigh. Meanwhile, watch for symptoms like pain, tingling, or numbness along the sciatic nerve.

Keep communication clear throughout the process. Ensure they understand and can report any sensations. This step helps accurately assess their symptoms.

slump test

What is a positive slump test?

A positive test result occurs when sciatic symptoms like pain or tingling worsen during the slump test. This suggests issues such as lumbar disc herniation or spinal stenosis may be compressing the sciatic nerve.


It’s important to note that a positive test result is not definitive proof of these conditions and should be interpreted alongside other clinical findings. The slump test helps clinicians evaluate sciatic pain, guiding them in planning diagnoses and treatments such as imaging or physical therapy.

However, it’s just one part of the diagnostic process. Clinicians should also consider other tests and examination findings to confirm the diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

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