Neurological examination

A neurological examination is performed only when the patient's symptoms, such as pain, paraesthesia, anaesthesia and weakness, extend into the leg.

The importance of the neurological examination is to ensure that there is no compression of the spinal nerves from a prolapsed disc or from a tumour. This is normally tested by examining those functions that the respective spinal nerves serve, namely skin sensation, muscle power and reflex activity. The examination is not daunting but can be performed quickly and efficiently in two to three minutes by a methodical technique that improves with continued use. The neurological examination consists of:

1. Quick tests o walking on heels (L5) o walking on toes (S1)

2. Dural stretch tests o slump test o straight leg raising (SLR)

3. Specific nerve root tests (L4, L5, S1)

o sensation o power o reflexes

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