The SLUMP test is a highly sensitive test that can elicit positive neural tension in even asymptomatic individuals. The test can be used in conjunction with other neural tension testing (straight leg raise) and is often a great concordant (asterisk) sign to demonstrate within treatment progress. Due to the complexity of this test, consistency is key. To ensure you are performing the SLUMP correctly, you must be systematic. Perform the same order of events with every patient, every time.
Proper Start Position (left picture above):
1) The patient sits upright with their popliteal creases against the back of the plinth.
2) The therapist presses the knees together and releases them to maintain a neutral position of the lower extremities
3) The patient folds their arms behind their low back
*These 3 steps are to maximize consistency
Performing the Test (Right picture above):
1) Have the patient slowly slouch from their thorax spine (this will also create lumbar flexion)
2) SLOWLY flex the head toward the sternum
3) SLOWLY begin extending the knee*
4) SLOWLY dorsiflex the ankle*
5) Extend the cervical spine (move a distant component)
*In steps 2, 3, and 4, I emphasize SLOWLY because the test is intended to pick up adverse neural tension. Many individuals will push past the onset of neural tension and confound the results of the examination. Remember, neural tension is only positive if their is a side to side difference, reproduces their primary complaint of pain, and if symptoms change by moving a distant component.
Turn the Test into a Treatment:
Fortunately, setup and treatment for positive neural tension findings can be very similar. Check out our HEP program page on Slump Sciatic Nerve Glides to improve your intervention selection. Additionally, for more information on neurodynamic testing and treatment check out our guest post from Darrin Staloch.
James Heafner PT, DPT, OCS:
Owner and lead physical therapist at Heafner Health, cash-based physical therapy in Boulder, CO. Areas of expertise include orthopedic and manual therapy, functional movement, pain science, and movement science.
In May 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University. After graduating from the Harris Health Systems Orthopedic Residency in October 2014, I moved to Boulder, CO. Since living in Boulder, I have started my own cash-based PT practice, earned my OCS certification, and teach for the OPTIM Fellowship and COMT program in Houston TX and Scottsdale, AZ.
Chris Fox PT, DPT, OCS: Physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ and regularly lectures at the Phoenix Campus for NAU's DPT program and for Optim Manual Therapy's COMT program. Completed multiple advanced manual therapy courses implementing aspects of biomechanical analysis. He received his DPT from Saint Louis University in 2013. Completed Scottsdale Healthcare's Orthopaedic Residency (now Honor Health) in July 2014. He became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist in 2015. Level I Expert in FMS and SFMA , Kinetacore FDN Level 1 certification, and IASTM Technique course completion. He would like to pursue further education in McKenzie Technique, Dry Needling, Strength & Conditioning, Orthopaedic and Manual Therapy.
Brian Schwabe PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS:
- Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (SCS) at Elite OrthoSport in Santa Monica, CA which specializes in treating collegiate/professional athletes and clientele from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas.
- USC Sports Residency Trained Physical Therapist (<1% of all PT's residency trained)
- DPT from Saint Louis University
- Future plans/interest include:
1. USAW, SFMA & Catapult Systems technology for NBA teams
2. Pursuing a position as a sports physical therapist &/or Strength coach for a Division 1 athletic medicine department or professional sport team.
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