Below is a transcript of a discussion between myself and one of our BJC physiotherapists, Rachael Butterworth about how to perform the Tragus to Wall Test.
You will also find the video below, should you prefer to watch it.
Robert: Hi everyone, my name is Robert Russo. I'm a rheumatologist at BJC Health, and today I'm going to ask Rachael Butterworth, a physiotherapist at our practice, to demonstrate the Tragus to Wall Test, which is an important test to assist for motion in the upper thoracic and cervical spine.
Racheal: Thanks Rob. So I'm going to show you how to measure the Tragus to Wall Test, which we use for measuring thoracic and cervical motility of an ankylosing spondylitis patient.
So the first thing we need to do is get the patient to stand up against the wall, heels back against the wall, and feet about about the length of a 30 centimeter ruler. We look at this part of the neck, and we ask the patient to try to get their back of their neck flat towards the wall as they can, giving this sort of double chin look.
We measure from the tragus, this part of the ear, we measure the distance from the wall to the tragus. Which here is nine and a half centimeters. We check both sides and take an average of the two for the tragus-to-wall score.
Robert: Thank you very much Rachael. That was a lovely demonstration of the Tragus to Wall Test. So was the subject normal?
Rachael: Yes he was. Nine and a half centimeters is a normal value. Anything below ten centimeters is a normal value for Tragus to Wall.
Robert: If it was abnormal, would that automatically mean that Erol had Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Rachael: No, it wouldn't. Tragus to Wall is not a diagnostic test for Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Robert: Well thank you very much again Rachael for showing us the Tragus to Wall Test.