A neurological exam is a test that a neurologists will administer on a patient in order to identify peripheral neuropathy and other neurological disorders. For those who are new to the term peripheral neuropathy, this is nerve damage that has occurred in the peripheral nervous system.
Most causes of peripheral neuropathy include blunt trauma and systemic illness side effects as well. The exam involves taking blood tests, diagnostics tests and others. Usually this test is conducted by a clinical neurologist and the tests may vary according to the neurological defect. You can easily find a neurologist in your area to conduct the exam.
If you have been scheduled for a neurological exam or are simply curios as to what it entails, here’s a breakdown of the exam procedure:
Blood work and other tests
Doctors always begin patient evaluation with a personal history exam. This is not really an exam but a series of questions that are related to the condition and its symptoms. In this initial stage, patients are asked to describe their symptoms and other questions such as how long they have been having the pain and more.
Not all questions are symptom related but no question is asked without a reason and you will be asked questions about other ailments you have suffered, medications you may be taking or took just to mention a few. A physical exam is also taken at this point to identify vibratory sensation and reflexes. The neurological exam is usually painless and tries to assess muscle strength, nerve functionality and sensation.
Some neurological symptoms may lead your neurologist to perform diagnostic tests and these may vary from a spinal tap, nerve biopsy, CT-Scan to MRI tests. Electro diagnostic exams may also be incorporated to identify the disorder and these include electromyography simply known as EMG. Imaging studies and blood tests are also conducted in these exams.
For those of you who have been asked to take this exam, it doesn’t mean that you are extremely sick. However, it is best to have the exam since early diagnosis of the condition could help you recover faster.
Below are the main reasons why these examinations are conducted:
To identify neurological disorders
To tell apart peripheral neuropathy from lesions in the central nervous system
To identify inconsistencies in the nervous system
These are the three main objectives of any neurological exam. In order to get the best treatment and to identify the cause or pin point your condition, the neurologist will need to carry out the above tests.
Patients are usually prepared by their neurologist on what to expect during the examination. If you’re taking your child to a pediatric neurologist, you can prepare the child by telling him or her what the test is all about so as to alleviate any fears or vivid imaginations.
As a neurologist, you also need to prepare fully by equipping yourself with the essential tools and giving the patient as much information as possible.