Shoulder Self Evaluation
A simple home test to evaluate the functioning of the shoulder is called The Apley’s Scratch test.
Apley’s Scratch Test Part 1
To perform the test, stand up straight, begin with the right or left arm, reach behind our head as if scratching the shoulder blade of the opposite shoulder (see first picture in diagram). You should reach as far as possible down the shoulder blade. It is good to have someone behind you to note how far your can reach. Repeat with the opposite arm.
In a normal functioning shoulder, both the right and left test should be equal and reach to about the middle of the shoulder blade without pain or stiffness.
Apley’s Scratch Test Part 2
The second part of the test is also performed standing. With the right or left arm, reach behind your back and up to the opposite shoulder blade as far as you can (see second picture of the diagram). You should have someone behind you noting how high you can reach. Repeat with the opposite arm.
Again, in a normal functioning shoulder, both the right and left test should be equal, and reach to about the middle of the shoulder blade without pain or stiffness.
If you find that these motions are not equal, you cannot reach to the mid shoulder blade area or produce pain or stiffness: there could be a structural issue in the shoulder. This test measures the basic range of motion, flexibility and strength of the shoulder girdle.
A positive test can indicate possible problems with the muscles, tendons or capsule of the shoulder. A thorough examination by a chiropractic physician with sports injury is strongly recommended.