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Cervical Distraction Test

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Other Names

  • Neck Distraction Test
  • Traction Distraction Test
  • Axial Manual Traction Test


Clinical demonstration of the Cervical Distraction Test
  • To evaluate the cause of neck pain


  • The patient lays supine on the examination table
  • The physician stands at the head of the bed with the patients occiput resting in their hands, thumbs along mastoid process
  • Slightly flex the neck and pull the head towards the examiner providing a distracting force
  • Positive Test
    • Reduction or elimination of symptoms with distraction



Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Rubinstein et al, Wainner et al[1][2]
    • Sensitivity: 0.44
    • Specificity: 0.97
    • LR-: 0.62
    • LR+: 4.4

See Also


  1. Rubinstein SM, Pool JJM, van Tulder MW, Riphagen II, de Vet HCW. A systemic review of the diagnostic accuracy of provocative tests of the neck for diagnosing cervical radiculopathy. Eur Spine J.2007;16:307-319.
  2. Wainner RS, Fritz JM, Irrgang JJ, Boninger ML, Delitto A, Allison S. "Reliability and diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination and patient self-report measures for cervical radiculopathy." Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2003 Jan 1. Web. 08/18/2012.
Created by:
John Kiel on 23 July 2019 22:10:12
Last edited:
25 March 2023 07:37:20