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Chiropractic assessment deals with examination of the musculoskeletal system to identify disease in the structural framework of the body. Several aches and pains in the body, especially the lower back can be traced to musculoskeletal abnormalities. These can be identified through carefully performed maneuvers and tests by trained professionals.

common tests performed by a chiropractor

  • Gait test: As the name suggests, this evaluates a patient’s gait or manner of walking. The individual is observed while walking back and forth. The gait pattern and coordination is noted. This is an important component of the neurological exam as strokes and peripheral nerve injury can present with altered gait. Local pain or deformity can also lead to an abnormal gait.
  • Marching on the spot: his can detect the presence of discordance between the spine and pelvis.
  • Forward and sideward bending: The spine can be assessed while bending. Upon forward bending, a spinal deformity like a crooked spine (scoliosis) tends to become more prominent. In the disease ankylosing spondylitis, a stiff spine develops causing difficulty in bending forward. Pain on sideways bending may occur due to muscle strain or sprains.
  • Posture examination: The individuals posture while sitting and standing is assessed from the front and side. Poor postures like hunching forward and slouching are frequent causes of neck and back pain from strain.  
  • Passive straight leg raise test: This test is performed in the evaluation of lower back pain. The individual is asked to lie flat on the examination couch. The examiner then lifts up the leg slowly, one at a time, while keeping it straight without bending the knee. Pain or tingling in the back extending to the leg is a sign of sciatica arising from irritation of nerve roots coming our of the spinal cord in the back.
  • Movement testing: A number of tests are performed to test the mobility and range of motion across all joints in the body, including the neck, shoulders, arms, back and legs. This allows for testing flexibility and to identify presence of weakness or stiffness.
  • Limb length measurement: the length of each leg is measured from the pelvis to the foot. Limb length discrepancy is a major cause of a limping gait and for several spine and pelvis deformities.
  • Yeoman’s Test: This is used to look for inflammation, sprain or strain in the sacroiliac joints (between the sacral bone of the spine and the pelvic bones) The individual is made to lie flat on their belly and their legs are sequentially lifted with a bent knee. This extends the hip and brings on pain in the back and buttocks in case of inflammation of the sacroiliac joint.


  1. Grassi R, Acfei DM. A Chiropractic Visit: Diagnostic Tests and Treatment [Internet]. SpineUniverse. [cited 2018 Oct 14]. Available from:

Chiropractic Tests, Chiropractic


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