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Neurological Examination
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What is a neurological examination?
A neurological examination, also called a neuro exam, is an evaluation of a person's nervous system that can be performed in the physician's office. It may be performed with instruments, such as lights and reflex hammers, and usually does not cause any pain to the patient. The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves from these areas. There are many aspects of this examination, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status (the patient's level of awareness and interaction with the environment), reflexes, and functioning of the nerves. The extent of the examination depends on many factors, including the initial problem that the patient is experiencing, the age of the patient, and the condition of the patient.

Why is a neurological examination performed?
A complete and thorough evaluation of a person's nervous system is important if there is any reason to think there may be an underlying problem, or during a complete physical. Damage to the nervous system can cause problems in daily functioning. Early identification may help to identify the cause and decrease long-term complications. A complete neurological examination may be performed:

What is done during a neurological examination?
During a neurological examination, the physician will "test" the functioning of the nervous system. The nervous system is very complex and controls many parts of the body. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, 12 nerves that come from the brain, and the nerves that come from the spinal cord. In infants and younger children, a neurological examination includes the measurement of the head circumference. The following is an overview of some of the areas that may be tested and evaluated during a neurological examination: