Modified Schober’s Test for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Measuring lumbar flexion mobility with a tape measure specific for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Visit us at

Robert: Hi everyone, my name is Robert Russo. I’m a Rheumatologist working at BJC Health, and today we’re going to go through a few tests associated with assessing people with ankylosing spondylitis. The first test we’re going to take you through is the Modified Schober’s test. And I have with me today Rachael Butterworth is a physiotherapist here at the practice with expertise in treating patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Rachael, would you like to come forward and take us through how to perform a Modified Schober’s test.

Rachael: Thanks Rob, so we’re going to go through the Modified Schober’s test which is a measure we use for ankylosing spondylitis to measure lumbar spine mobility. So here, the first thing we have to do is make sure the patient is standing in the right position. So we have feet around about a hip width apart, which is fine here. We definitely need to see the lumbar spine. We’re going to come in, we have to lower the shorts a little bit so we get onto the PSIS lines on the lumbar spine in the pelvis here. Just for purposes I’m just going to to mark them out here so we can see, OK. From the PSIS we come into the center and use that as a central mark. We then have to grab the tape measure and come down five cm from that middle mark and then mark that off. And then 10 cm above. Then what we do, is ask the patient keeping their knees straight, they aim to bend forwards to touch their toes, as far as they can go keeping their knees straight. Then we come in and measure distance between the top and bottom marker. That’s 21 here, so coming back up we look at the difference of that 15 cm here to the 21, and that would be 6 cm here.

Robert: Thank you very much Rach for showing us the Modified Schober’s test, so was that normal?

Rachael: So the lumbar spine movement, in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis a concern would be anywhere below 5 cm. So, in Errol who we looked at just then, his was 6 so that’s relatively normal.

Robert: And is Ankylosing spondylitis the under cause for restricted lumber spine motion?

Rachael: Definitely not, there are a number of different causes for restricted spine, lumbar spine mobility, and your rheumatologist can definitely further investigate those causes.

Robert: Well thank you very much again Rach for showing us the Modified Schober’s test.

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