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Cervical Distraction Test
The Cervical Distraction test is designed to detect the presence of radicular pain in the symptomatic limb, caused by cervical nerve root compression.
With the patient in the seated position, place one hand under the chin and cup the occiput with the other. Apply a distraction load by gradually tractioning upwards.
The test is considered positive if the patient feels a decrease or complete relief of the radiating pain in their shoulder or upper extremity.
In addition to testing for conditions causing radicular pain, this test can also be used when localized mechanical neck pain is suspected. In this instance, if the distraction aggravates the localized pain, involvement of neck musculature, or the capsules of the cervical facet joints should be considered.
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