Chiropractic care concerns itself with a proper functioning spine and nervous system. Most people know about our focus on the spine, but not how we also are concerned about all of the nerves that are also affected.
Since your health is so strongly affected by the health of your nerves, we are very interested in making sure they are working as well as they can.
Patients regularly arrive in our office complaining of not just neck and back pain, but with radiating symptoms. Radiating symptoms are when you feel shooting pain, numbness, tingling, or burning down your arms or legs. These symptoms indicate that the nerve is involved with your problem.
Technically, nerves don’t get pinched, but a misaligned vertebra or bulging disc can create a hostile environment where irritation and swelling create pressure on the spinal nerves. Wherever that nerve goes will also be affected when this happens.
Why do a neurological examination?
As with any examination, we are looking to determine the patient’s condition along with whether or not our treatment will likely be an effective option for that condition. We regularly make referrals to other health care providers when we feel they are the better choice to help our patient. Neurologists are one of those types of doctors we send patients to see when their problem requires their expertise.
What does a neurological examination look like?
Nerves carry both a motor and a sensory component, so checking out the nerves requires some evaluation of each. Some of the tests may include muscle testing, where we isolate muscle groups that are controlled by a specific nerve and push to feel if the muscle “locks.” Any weakness during this test may mean a nerve in trouble.
We will also check reflexes and use a pinwheel instrument to check the dermatomes (how the nerves are affecting sensation on the skin). Some serious neurological conditions can be revealed through these evaluations.
The neurological examination is performed as a part of the chiropractic and orthopedic examination that we do for every new patient that visits our office. Should our evaluation determine that chiropractic care is not the right option for your condition, we will make immediate referral to a neurologist.