Neurological examination for multiple sclerosis

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Neurological examination for multiple sclerosis

Examination Overview

Before conducting a neurological examination for multiple sclerosis (MS), the doctor will collect information about your symptoms. The kinds of symptoms, as well as how and when they occur, are important in evaluating whether you might have MS. Even symptoms that you might have had several years ago can be important.

The neurological examination will cover:

The neurological history and examination may take as long as 2 hours but usually take 1 hour or less.

Why It Is Done

A brief neurological examination is part of any complete physical examination. If you report symptoms that suggest a problem with the nervous system, the doctor may do a more thorough neurological examination. Such an examination will always be done if you have symptoms that suggest MS.

Results

Findings on the neurological examination may include the following.

Normal

All tested functions are within normal ranges.

Abnormal

Abnormal findings may include evidence of nervous system abnormalities, such as weakness, blindness, coordination or balance problems, or changes in sensation.

What To Think About

Because MS lesions (injured or inflamed nerve tissues) may be found in several locations on the brain and spinal cord, symptoms can vary greatly. Some lesions may not cause signs or symptoms that the doctor can evaluate during an examination. Other tests may be needed to help make the diagnosis, especially when there is a history of several attacks.

Complete the medical test information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised April 15, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.