Kernig test

Kernig test

A clinical test used to identify meningeal irritation.

Technique
The patient is placed in a supine position with hands cupped behind head, and then instructed to flex the cervical spine by lifting head; each hip is unilaterally flexed to no more than 90º, with the corresponding knee fully extended, leaving the opposite leg on the examining table.

Positive test
Increased pain with both hip and neck flexion, and pain relief when knee is allowed to flex, implies meningeal irritation, nerve root impingement and dural irritation, which is aggravated by spinal cord stretching.