Schober Test

This test is for the evaluation of lumbar spine range of motion, to possibly identify suspected ankylosing spondylitis. There is a similar toe touch test, which simply measures the distance of the fingers to the toes.

purpose: To measure the range of motion of the lumbar spine.

equipment required: marker pen, measuring tape.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight and gender. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: The subject stands erect, bare-footed, and with feet together, with their back facing the examiner. Identify the location of the lumbosacral junction. Mark the midline at 5 cm below and at 10 cm above the lumbosacral junction. The subject is then asked to slowly lean forwards at the waist, keeping the knees straight. While the patient holds this position, measure the distance between the two lines. The change is the distance between the lines is a measure of flexion.

scoring: The score is a distance measure in centimeters. The original distance was 15 cm apart. If the distance increases to more than 20 centimeters, lumbar spine flexibility is normal. A distance measure of fewer than 20 centimeters (less than 5cm difference) indicates decreased lumbar spine range of motion, possibly Ankylosing Spondylitis.

advantages: this is a very simple test to conduct, which can be performed quickly with minimal equipment.

comments: there are modifications of the Schober test using different landmarks.

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