The neurological workout – I mean examination…

I mentioned my trip to my GP last week and how she was doing my neurological exam “wrong” or at least not as thoroughly as I was used to. I thought I would devote a post just to the exam, and yesterday two of my friends shared this great link that explains it!
This link spends a lot of time explaining techniques to examine nerves from the brain. M neurological exam goes into equal depth on the rest of my body.

This is Ian’s favourite test. While I’m lying on my back, my neuro holds the joint of my big toe really firmly so that I can’t pick up any clues from feeling his hand move. Then he moves my big toe and asks me if he lifts it up or down, a lot or a little. Unless it’s a really big movement I can’t feel it and I guess. Ian loves it because it seems I’m often wrong.

Another one is while lying on my back, lift my right leg, put the right heel on the left knee (so your right knee is in the air, not on the bed) and run the heel up and down my shin as fast as I can. (You’re all trying it now, aren’t you?). Let’s just say lifting my leg if often as far as I get, and the rest? Not pretty!

And put your finger on your nose, now put your finger on my finger?!? I guess I would fail the drunk test!

I actually enjoy doing it, because it gives me a sense of how I am doing, as I will remember what I could do the previous time. Often I have to ask the person giving the test to slow down or to let me try it again, because it takes time for me to translate the most basic command into an action.

I have had the test done by many different professionals. I know that those who do it thoroughly and slowly, and take the time to listen to the cues I give them, get lots of great data about how I performed in that snapshot but also the underlying condition. Those who don’t take the time, get results that they find difficult to interpret!

The whole exam is like work out for me, which in itself is an issue, as I don’t perform as well the more tired I get. I find it fun but also intriguing just how much clinical information can be obtained from something that can be so subjective.


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