Straight Leg Raise Test (Lumbar) – Physical Exam

The Straight Leg Raise test is a neurodynamic test. Neurodynamic tests check the mechanical movement of the neurological tissues as well as their sensitivity to mechanical stress or compression. These tests, along with relevant history and decreased range of motion, are considered by some to be the most important physical signs of disc herniation, regardless of the degree of disc injury. Straight Leg Raise test is a neural tension test that can be used to rule in or out neural tissue involvement as a result of a space occupying lesion, often a lumbar disc herniation. It is one of the most common neurological tests of the lower limb.

A) Perform in two positions:

1) Supine Low Back Exam
2) Sitting Low Back Exam

B) Flex hip from 180 to 90 degrees

Interpretation: Criteria for positive test

– Sciatic Pain at 30 to 70 degrees
– Aggravation of pain dorsiflexion of the foot
– Relief of pain by knee flexion

Efficacy: Predicting Lumbar Disc Herniation with Straight Leg Raise test

– Test Sensitivity: Up to 98%
– Test Specificity: Up to 61%

This neurodynamic test is most commonly used in order to assess lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica symptoms, central low back pain and neurological symptoms such as tingling, burning, shooting pain along the leg.
Research article:



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