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Adams Forward Bend Test

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Other Names

  • Forward Bend Test
  • Adam's Forward Bend Test


Illustration of Adams Forward Bend Test with both normal and abnormal[1]
  • Evaluate for structural or functional Scoliosis
  • This is performed by exaggerating the curve or making it more apparent


  • Patient removes shirt, provider stands behind patient
  • The physician should observe for any asymmetries of the spin
  • The patient then bends forward until the back is in the horizontal plane
  • Note, arms hanging with legs fully extended, head in neutral
  • The physician observes for asymmetries along the plane of the spine



  • Cobb Angle > 10°
    • Sensitivity: 84.3%[2]
    • Specificity: 93.44%
  • Cobb Angle > 40° [3]
    • Sensitivity: 0.83
    • Specificity: 0.99
  • Inter-examiner agreement is moderate in the thoracic spine, poor in the lumbar spine [4]

See Also


  1. Image courtesy of physio-study.com/, "Adam’s Forward Bend Test"
  2. T Karachalios, J Sofianos, N Roidis, G Sapkas, D Korres, K Nikolopoulos. Ten-year follow-up evaluation of a school screening program for scoliosis. Is the forward-bending test an accurate diagnostic criterion for the screening of scoliosis? Spine 1999; 24(22):2318-24 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10586455
  3. CJ Goldberg, FE Dowling, EE Fogarty, DP Moore. School scoliosis screening and the United States Preventive Services Task Force. An examination of long-term results. Spine 1995; 20(12):1368-74 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7676334 (accessed 26 November 2011) Level of evidence: A2
  4. /P. Côté, B. Kreitz, JD Cassidy, AK Dzus, J. Martel. A study of the diagnostic accuracy and reliability of the scoliometer and Adam’s forward bend test. Spine 1998; 1;23(7):796-802 http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/1998/04010/A__Study_of_the_Diagnostic_Accuracy_and.11.aspx
Created by:
John Kiel on 21 July 2019 22:07:35
Last edited:
24 March 2023 06:15:51