What is the Romberg test?


Romberg’s test is a type of test performed in neurology. It is used in patients with imbalance, or gait problems. It serves both to study balance and coordination, and to find motor coordination disorders, which are called sensory ataxia and are produced by this lack of balance.

What does this test consist of?

We have already briefly explained what the Romberg test is, but we have not yet explained how it is performed. Next, we tell you how:

The Romberg test is very simple to perform, no need for the help of any instrument or prior preparation, in addition to having a very short duration. Actually, there is a requirement, or rather a recommendation, and that is that the place where the test is carried out must be safe and not have too many objects with which the patient can hit himself if he falls. .

  • The patient should stand up, with the feet together and the arms loosely at the sides, and they should also keep their eyes open.
  • The person who is performing the test on the patient should stand in front of him, with open arms at a distance, without actually touching him, but close to the user to provide support against a possible fall.
  • When both are in their positions, the examiner should observe the patient’s balance for about 30 seconds and if he wobbles or even falls.
  • When the time passes, the patient has to close his eyes, while the examiner observes the same as before for another 30 seconds.

During the test the doctor should pay attention to the balance of the patient, and if it is inclined, the moment in which the instability appears and to which sides it is inclined more must be observed.Balance exercises

Test variations

The main way to perform this test is as we have explained before, although there are variants of it that are also widely used. One of them is the call Tandem or modified Romberg, which begins in a similar way to the standard one, but has a second part:

  • The patient should cross his arms on the chest, positioning the palm of his right hand on his left shoulder and vice versa.
  • One foot should be slightly more forward than the other.
  • When the patient is in that position, he must keep his eyes open while the doctor observes him for 10 seconds, when they finish the examiner will do the same but the patient must close his eyes.
  • The last step is optional, it consists of doing the same as before, but with one foot placed right in front of the other.

When is it positive?

It is considered that the patient is negative when you can stand with your eyes closed and it is considered positive when you can’t. Although it is not necessary that you have to fall to get the Romberg sign, since if you have your eyes closed and you need to move one foot to avoid a fall, you will possess the sign to a lesser extent.

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