Neurological Exam for Parkinson's Disease - Topic Overview
A detailed neurological exam should be part of a standard physical exam
Parkinson's disease and to separate Parkinson's
disease from other conditions. Your family doctor or general practitioner can do this. Or you may
be referred to a neurologist, which is a doctor who specializes in disorders of the nervous
system (brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles).
During this exam, your doctor will observe your movement, coordination,
and balance. You may be asked to complete a few physical tasks, such as walking
up and down a hall or getting up from a chair. The doctor also will watch for
any rapid, repetitive movements, such as finger-tapping or tremor. Simple tests
may be used to evaluate your muscle strength and control, reflexes, sensation
(such as the ability to feel a pinprick or a light touch), and vision.
Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder that can significantly impair driving skills, cause safety concerns, and force many people with the condition to stop driving a car. That’s because the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can seriously interfere with the complex task of driving a car. These symptoms are:
Tremor -- trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
Rigidity -- stiffness of the limbs and trunk
Bradykinesia -- slowness of movement
The neurological exam also will include a brief assessment of your mental
ability and emotional condition. The doctor may ask you to repeat a series of
numbers or to answer simple questions about dates, places, and current events.
The doctor usually can judge your emotional condition during the exam by paying
attention to your actions and statements and by asking direct questions about
your mood and emotions.
The doctor will also listen to your heart
and lungs and may perform other routine examinations.