Straight leg raise

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Straight leg raise
Medical diagnostics
Straight-leg-test.gif
Straight Leg test sometimes used to help diagnose a lumbar herniated disc
Purposedetermine if herniated disc

The straight leg raise, also called Lasègue's sign, Lasègue test or Lazarević's sign, is a test done during a physical examination to determine whether a patient with low back pain has an underlying herniated disc, often located at L5 (fifth lumbar spinal nerve).

Contents

Technique

With the patient lying down on his or her back on an examination table or exam floor, the examiner lifts the patient's leg while the knee is straight.

A variation is to lift the leg while the patient is sitting. [1] However, this reduces the sensitivity of the test. [2]

In order to make this test more specific, the ankle can be dorsiflexed and the cervical spine flexed. This increases the stretching of the nerve root and dura.

Interpretation

If the patient experiences sciatic pain, and more specifically pain radiating down the leg (radiculopathy), when the straight leg is at an angle of between 30 and 70 degrees, then the test is positive and a herniated disk is a possible cause of the pain. [3] A negative test suggests a likely different cause for back pain.

A positive straight leg test reproduces radiating leg pain. If it only causes back pain, then the test is negative. Because this is often misunderstood, it is prudent to add a statement of clarification. For example, "Straight leg test is positive on the left, reproducing the patient's radiating leg symptoms."[ citation needed ]

A meta-analysis reported the accuracy as: [4]

If raising the opposite leg causes pain (cross or contralateral straight leg raising):

Lasègue's sign

Lasègue's sign was named after Charles Lasègue (1816-1883). [5] In 1864 Lasègue described the signs of developing low back pain while straightening the knee when the leg has already been lifted. In 1880 Serbian doctor Laza Lazarević described the straight leg raise test as it is used today, so the sign is often named Lazarević's sign in Serbia and some other countries. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Spinal disc herniation is an injury to the cushioning and connective tissue between vertebrae, usually caused by excessive strain or trauma to the spine. It may result in back pain, pain or sensation in different parts of the body, and physical disability. The most conclusive diagnostic tool for disc herniation is MRI, and treatment may range from painkillers to surgery. Protection from disc herniation is best provided by core strength and an awareness of body mechanics including posture.

Radiculopathy Human disease

Radiculopathy, also commonly referred to as pinched nerve, refers to a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly. This can result in pain, weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling specific muscles.

A GALS screen is an examination used by doctors and other healthcare professionals to detect locomotor abnormalities and functional disability relating to gait, arms, legs and the spine.

Spinal stenosis Disease of the bony spine that results in narrowing of the spinal canal

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Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

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References

  1. Waddell G, McCulloch JA, Kummel E, Venner RM (1980). "Nonorganic physical signs in low-back pain". Spine. 5 (2): 117–25. doi:10.1097/00007632-198003000-00005. PMID   6446157.
  2. Rabin A, Gerszten PC, Karausky P, Bunker CH, Potter DM, Welch WC (2007). "The sensitivity of the seated straight-leg raise test compared with the supine straight-leg raise test in patients presenting with magnetic resonance imaging evidence of lumbar nerve root compression". Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 88 (7): 840–3. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2007.04.016. PMID   17601462.
  3. Speed C (2004). "Low back pain". BMJ. 328 (7448): 1119–21. doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7448.1119. PMC   406328 . PMID   15130982.
  4. Devillé WL, van der Windt DA, Dzaferagić A, Bezemer PD, Bouter LM (2000). "The test of Lasègue: systematic review of the accuracy in diagnosing herniated disks" (PDF). Spine. 25 (9): 1140–7. doi:10.1097/00007632-200005010-00016. PMID   10788860.
  5. "Whonamedit - dictionary of medical eponyms". www.whonamedit.com. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  6. Lazarevićev znak (in Croatian)