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Top 3 Self At-Home Tests for Low Back Pain

During a physiotherapy assessment, your therapist will perform tests to rule in or rule out causes of your pain, no matter what body part is bothering you.  There are dozens of low back pain special tests, but here are a few that you can perform on yourself at home.

The forward bend test 

  • Stand up straight with your hands at your side. Bend forward and reach to your toes as far as you can go.


      • Negative test: Your low back pain does not get worse when you bend over at the waist.
      • Positive test: If your pain gets worse when bending over the test is positive
      • What does a positive test mean?
        • When performing the test,  if the pain goes down the back of the leg, your pain might be caused by a disc irritation, a nerve root irritation, or a facet joint irritation.

Quadrant test                           

  • Stand up straight with your hands on your waist. Bend your spine backward (extension) then side bend and rotate to the side of your spine that you have pain  Repeat this on the opposite side as well.
        • Negative Test: This test is negative if the position does not reproduce your pain.
        • Positive Test: if you get into the testing position and the test reproduces your low back pain
        • What does a positive test mean?
          • If the pain stays in your low back, it means that your back pain is likely being caused by some kind of facet joint irritation. These are the small joints on either side of your spine.
          • If the pain occurs in the top of the hip or down the leg, it means that there is likely pressure being put on the nerve roots that are coming out of your spinal cord.

    Slump test 

    • Sit at the edge of a table or chair. Slouch over and tuck your chin down to your chest.  Bring one of your ankles into dorsiflexion (bring your toes up towards your nose). Straighten your knee until you feel a pull anywhere from your low back to the bottom of your foot. Most people will feel a pull behind the knee.  Once you feel a pull, look up towards the ceiling.

  • Negative test: This test is negative when lifting your head does not decrease the stretch/ pull/ pain in the back of the leg when you lift your head up.
  • Positive test:  This test is positive when lifting your head up relieves the pain by at least 50%.
    • What does a positive test mean?
      • A positive slump test means that the nerves running from your back down to your foot have some kind of pressure on them and/or are not moving smoothly in the path that they travel. A positive test does not indicate nerve damage, only that movement of the nervous system is restricted.


Are you looking for more information and someone to tell you what is going on with your low back pain!? Come in for an assessment with one of our therapists. 

It’s a 30-minute 1-on-1 appointment with a Physiotherapist where you get the following…

1. A DIAGNOSIS: Discover the cause of your pain so that you can attack the problem successfully.

2. A PROGNOSIS: Find out how long it will take to fix your back pain for good so you can get back to all the activities you used to do before your injury.

3. A PLAN: Your Physiotherapist will lay out a clear plan that outlines what will be required to get you back to normal.

All you need to do to get started is to call our Physio Hotline number (289) 803 –8076 and pick your time and location. We look forward to meeting you and getting you back to normal!