How is dermatomal sensory and reflex testing used in the evaluation of mechanical low back pain?

Updated: Mar 06, 2018
  • Author: Everett C Hills, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Answer

Test for sensation and reflexes using 0-2 ordinal scale for pinprick sensation (0 = no sensation, 1 = diminished sensation, and 2 = normal sensation), and 0-4 ordinal scale to rate reflexes (0 = no reflex, 1 = hyporeflexic, 2 = normal reflex, 3 = hyperreflexic, and 4 = hyperreflexic with clonus).

Table 2. Dermatomal Sensory and Reflex Testing (Open Table in a new window)

Nerve Root

Pin-Prick Sensation

Reflex

L3

Lateral thigh and medial femoral condyle

Patellar tendon reflex

L4

Medial leg and medial ankle

Patellar tendon reflex

L5

Lateral leg and dorsum of foot

Medial hamstring

S1

Sole of foot and lateral ankle

Achilles tendon reflex


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