Schepelmann test

What is Schepelmann Test?

Schepelmann test is used for the differential diagnosis of chest pain. There are several different reasons of chest pain like

  • Compression on the intercoastal nerve (intercoastal neuralgia),
  • The strain on the intercoastal muscles,
  • Rib fracture or a Rib subluxation.
  • Costochondritis,
  • Inflammation of the pleura (pleuritis)
  • Strain or stretching of the muscles present in the chest area.

The procedure of Performing The Schepelmann Test?

This Schepelmann test can be performed in two positions one is in a seated position, and the other is in a standing position.

Let me first demonstrate this test in a seated position. Don’t worry about the standing position procedure. You can perform the below-mentioned procedure in a standing position, also. Therefore, the patient’s position will change from seated to standing rest all the procedures will remain the same.

Position of the Patient – The patient is in a seated position with their arms resting by their side.

Now the examiner will ask the patient at which side they feel pain.

Let’s suppose a patient is a man, and he says he is having pain on the right side of the rib cage.

Right Side Bending

So the first thing the examiner will do is he will watch how the patient actively bends towards the right side. The patient will bend as far as he can. And after bending towards the right side, the examiner will ask him to straighten up.

Left Side Bending

After straightening up the spine, the examiner will ask him to bend towards the left side (opposite side) of the pain.

Assessment of The Schepelmann Test

Once bending towards the left and right sides got completed, the examiner will ask the patient specifically where he felt the pain.

Did he feel the pain when he bent towards the pain side (right side)? or did he feel the pain when he bent away from the pain side (left side).

What type of pain did he feel? And how to point to that area where he felt the pain? This could be a couple of different things.

A positive schepelmann test is an increase in pain or if the pain is evoked during moving either to the left side or the right side.

If the patient is moving towards the pain side (right side) and if the pain increases, it can be due to

If the pain increases when the patient moves away from the side of pain (left side), then it can be

  • An indication of costochondritis,
  • It can also be an inflammation of the pleura (pleuritis). So you want to be very careful. or
  • It could be a strain or stretching of the muscles present in that area. Or
  • It could be a rib fracture.

Therefore rib fractures are painful on any movement of the spine. Therefore, if you move any side of the spine, either the left side or right side, if there is a rib fracture, then it would be painful. A video demonstration of Schepelmann’s test (above-explained procedure) is mentioned below.

YouTube video


You May Also Read 

Rib Test 

Sternum Compression test – Indicates rib fracture or rib dislocation or strain in the intercoastal muscles or imapaired vertebral or coastal mobility

Rib Compression Test – Indicates impaired costosternal or costovertebral joint or a rib fracture.

Thoracic Spine Test 

Ott Sign – For Measuring the ROM of the Thoracic Spine

Sacroiliac Joint Tests

Mennell’s Sign / Mennell’s Test – Used to assess degenerative processes in the sacroiliac joint.

Springing Test – To detect functional impairment in the Thoracic & Lumbar spine & Sacroiliac Joint.

Gaenslen’s Test – To detect any pathology or dysfunction around the sacroiliac joint.

Standing Flexion Test/ Standing Forward Flexion Test – To assess sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Faber Test / Patrick’s Test – Used to assess the pathology or dysfunction at the hip joint, muscles around the hip joint, and at the sacroiliac joint.

Cervical Tests 

Cervical Flexion Compression Test –  To identify if there is a Herniated disk in the Cervical spine.


Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System: Examinations-Signs-Phenomena by K. Buckup

2 thoughts on “Schepelmann test”

  1. I have the Reference Clinical Tests for the Musculoskeletal System: Examinations-Signs-Phenomena by K. Buckup and can find no reference to the Schepelmann test. This test also seems to be missing from several other orthopedic reference texts such as Evans, Cipriano and Sousza. Do you know of any other reference with an ISBN that covers the Schepelmann test in detail with the procedure, positive findings as well as sensitivity and specificity? Thank you

    • Yes, it is missing but don’t need to worry for that. I have done a deep research before uploading this content. And I also have embedded the youtube video (it also works as a reference). So, no need to worry about verifying the content from other books just read the blog and apply on your patients


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