Schober's test

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Schober's test is a test used in rheumatology to measure the ability of a patient to flex his/her lower back.


While the patient is in a standing position the examiner makes a mark approximately at the level of L5 (fifth lumbar vertebra). The examiner then places one finger ~5 cm below this mark, and another, second, finger, ~10 cm above this mark. The patient is asked to touch his/her toes without flexing the knee joints. By doing so, the distance between the two fingers of the examiner increases. However, a restriction in the lumbar flexion of the patient reduces this increase; if the distance increases less than 5 cm,[1] then there is an indication that the flexion of the lower back is limited. For instance, this test is diagnostically useful as part of a clinical diagnosis of syndromes such as ankylosing spondylitis.


The test was first described in 1937 by Dr Paul Schober (March 11, 1865 - August 22, 1943), a German physician.[2][3]


  1. ^ General Practice notebook
  2. ^ Schober P (1937). "Lendenwirbelsäule und Kreuzschmerzen". Much Med Wochenschr 84: 336–339. 
  3. ^ Paul Schober at Who Named It?