Springing Test – Thoracic & Lumbar spine & Sacroiliac Joint

Let’s first discuss the Springing test of the thoracic and lumbar spine

What is the Springing Test of Thoracic & Lumbar Spine?

The springing test of the thoracic & lumbar spine is used for the localization or detection of functional impairment in the thoracic or lumbar spine.

The procedure of Performing Springing Test in the  Thoracic or Lumbar Spine

Well, it will be better to watch the video first before reading the procedure. So the proper video on how to perform the Springing Test in the  Thoracic or Lumbar Spine is given below.


Well, I hope you enjoyed and understood the procedure by watching the video tutorial. Now let me explain to you the summary of this video.

Procedure For the Lumbar Spine

  • Ask your patient to lie in a prone position.

Note – The therapist will work caudally to cranially. Caudally means away from the head (lower portion of the spine). Cranially means towards the head end of the body (upper portion of the spine). Therefore, the therapist will work from the lower portion of the spine to the upper portion of the spine.

  • As shown in the video, first the examiner will find out the lower ribs. Finding the lower ribs, allows the examiner to easily find or palpate the transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae.
  • The examiner gonna take the index finger and middle finger of the left hand. And then he will put them alongside (each side) of the spinous process ie on the transverse process.
  • Now the examiner will put his index finger one segment below the right transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae and the middle finger one segment above the left transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae.
  • So now with the ulnar edge (hypothenar eminence) of the other hand, the examiner perpendicularly applies a light posterior-anterior pressure in a cranial direction (means moving towards the head end of the body) over both the palpating fingers (index finger and middle finger), this causes a relative right rotation at each of these segments.



Note – This perpendicular posterior-anterior pressure is known as springing or spring movement. That’s why this test is known as the springing test.

  • Now the examiner will do the spring movement. And then he moves to the next segment (next lumbar vertebrae) and again he does the spring movement. And like this only he performs the spring movement in all the above lumbar vertebrae.

Movement in the lumbar spine – As the movement (pressure) in the lumbar spine is  PA (posterior-anterior) with a cranial angle added to it.

For the Thoracic Spine

  • As the examiner moves to the middle thoracic spine (T5 and T4), suddenly the examiner’s direction is gonna go more posterior-anterior caudal direction vs a cranial direction. In other words as the examiner moves to the middle thoracic spine (T5 and T4), suddenly the examiner changes his posterior-anterior pressure applying direction from cranial to caudal.

Test Results 

When the joint is intact or healthy, the articular process of laminae will be resilient. It indicates negative spring test.

Excessive or lack of resiliency is a sign of abnormal segmental mobility. However, in the former case a blockade and in the latter case hypermobility.

The term “Former” refers to something that is first in the order of two or more things. While “Latter” refers to something that is either second in a group of two things or last in a group of several.

However, the springing Test of the Lumbar Spine is also a provocative test for the posterior longitudinal ligament in particular. And will result in an increase in the deep, dull low back pain that is typical of this structure and is difficult to pinpoint or localize.

What is the Springing Test of Sacroiliac Joint

The springing test of the sacroiliac joint examines facet joint hypermobility in the sacroiliac joint.

The procedure of Performing Springing Test of Sacroiliac Joint

  • The patient lies in a prone position.
  • The therapist or examiner places the index finger of one hand first on the superior margin of the sacroiliac joint and then on its inferior margin (S1-S3) in such a manner that the fingertips lie on the sacrum and the volar aspect of the distal phalanx lies on the medial margin of the ilium.
  • The other hand of examiner grasps the index finger and exerts posteroanterior pressure which the palpating finger transmits to the sacrum.
Procedure of performing Springing test for Sacroiliac joint


Assessment of the Springing Test of Sacroiliac Joint

A normal sacroiliac joint will be Resilient. It means that the palpating pressure will slightly raise the distance between the posterior margin of the ilium and the sacrum. This also indicates a negative spring test.

In a motion restricted sacroiliac joint: This resiliency is not present.

A relatively long range of motion with a hard endpoint indicates hypermobility in the sacroiliac joint.

Note – Pain during the examination can occur in both a strained hypermobile sacroiliac joint (painful hypermobility) and a motion restricted sacroiliac joint. 

You May Also Read 

Sacroiliac Joint Tests

Lasegue Straight Leg Drop Test

Gaenslen’s Test 

Standing Flexion Test/ Standing Forward Flexion Test 

Faber Test / Patrick’s Test 

Cervical Tests 

Cervical Flexion Compression Test 

Jackson Compression Test 

Spurling Test

Cervical Distraction Test 

O’Donoghue Test

Soto Hall Test

Maximum Compression of the Intervertebral Foramina Test of Cervical Spine 

Some other Tests

Adam’s Forward Bend Test 

Noble Compression Test/Noble Test 

Neer Test 


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

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