What Is Neurological Assessment?

time03-May-2024 06:16 AM

Neurological assessment refers to medical tests, both physical and diagnostic, that are used to diagnose neurological conditions appropriately. It is also utilised to create a treatment plan for the patient that accurately helps address the patient’s concerns.

The treatment plan is then used to treat their symptoms as easily as possible. This is the definition of what neurological assessment is, but there’s much more to it than just the definition.

To help you learn in detail, let’s review how a neurological assessment is performed and who the experts are that oversee and perform a neurological assessment.

How Is A Neurological Assessment Performed?

A neurological assessment is performed both as a screening process and also to understand the chief complaints of patients. This assessment involves several parts and often requires a thorough knowledge of your own and your family's medical history.

It is performed by experts and qualified professionals, who you will learn more about later in this piece. Here are the main steps used to perform a neurological assessment.

1.    Medical History

The medical history of a patient and their family is asked about as the first step of any neurological assessment. This is done to learn about the underlying health conditions and risk factors that may be causing symptoms or have the potential to cause symptoms in the future.

2.    Physical Observation

Physical observation includes doctors and experts assessing the physical demeanour, appearance, and behaviour, of the patient. If there’s any discrepencies or abnormalities in your facial expressions, movements, and posture, doctors may ask you to go through further testing to diagnose underlying neurological conditions.

3.    Psychological Observation

Psychological observations include a patient’s language skills, cognitive abilities, and memory attention. The doctors can ask for specific actions or tests to know if you are performing optimally. Based on your responses, doctors can opt for further medical testing.

4.    Motor Function Tests

Motor function tests are used to understand muscle tone, strength, coordination, and reflexes. If your muscles are not functioning properly, it could indicate underlying neurological conditions.

The tests are performed by asking the patient to fight against any resistance on their muscles and perform specific physical movements.

5.    Cranial Nerve Assessment

There are twelve cranial nerves all of which control specific functions such as vision, swallowing, facial movements, and smell. These tests are used to monitor the functions mentioned and see if there are any abnormalities.

6.    Sensory Function Tests

Sensory function tests are used to test the various sense organs of the body. This includes your nose, eyes, ears, skin, and sense of temperature and sensation in different parts of your body. If any of the sensory functions are not working appropriately, it can lead to further diagnosis.

7.    Reflex Test

You must know about the test where doctors hit you on your body with a medical hammer. That is the reflex test, which is used to check your body’s reflexes. This test is a part of a neurological assessment and is used to get a knee-jerk reaction from the patient.

8.    Gait Test

A gait test is performed to check the patient's walking and how they use their muscles while walking, as well as balance and coordination. This test is an integral part of a neurological assessment.

9.    Coordination & Balance Tests

In line with the gait test, the coordination and balance tests are also used to test the patient’s neurological and musculoskeletal system and how they work together. Any discrepancies in this test can indicate underlying health conditions that require further testing.

10.    Diagnostic Tests

Lastly, diagnostic tests are prescribed in cases where patients complain about symptoms and underlying health conditions. These tests include MRI, CT scans, EEG tests, and nerve conduction studies. These tests help with the diagnosis of neurological conditions and help create a treatment plan for the patient.

Who Performs Neurological Assessments?

Neurological assessments are performed by neurologists or by assigned specialists such as doctors or nurses. These examinations are performed in a regular doctor’s office setting and take only a few minutes to go through unless further diagnostic testing is required.


Neurological studies are one of the more complicated parts of human anatomy. During your nursing education, you may have problems with neurological studies due to their vast literature and complex concepts.

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