Semin Neurol 1998; 18(2): 161-168
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1040869
© 1998 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Pointers and Pitfalls in the Neurologic Examination

William DeMyer
  • Department of Neurology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Publication History

Publication Date:
19 March 2008 (online)


The neurologic examination is reviewed with regard to efficiency, technical errors, and patient comfort. Misleading nomenclature causes errors in executing and interpreting many bedside tests. The examiner can insure success by accepting every patient nonjudgmentally and by maintaining a mind-set that expects to find abnormalities. Since the examiner cannot do every possible test on every patient, intelligent utilization of the history may shorten the examination yet make it more informative. To insure full patient cooperation, the examiner should make each step in the examination into a game or contest and, wherever possible, match functions, such as muscle-to-muscle strength testing, directly against the patient's.