Items in AFP with MESH term: Neurologic Examination
Recognizing Spinal Cord Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Physicians who work in primary care settings and emergency departments frequently evaluate patients with neck and back pain. Spinal cord emergencies are uncommon, but injury must be recognized early so that the diagnosis can be quickly confirmed and treatment can be instituted to possibly prevent permanent loss of function. The differential diagnosis includes spinal cord compression secondary to vertebral fracture or space-occupying lesion, spinal infection or abscess, vascular or hematologic damage, severe disc herniation and spinal stenosis. The most important information in the assessment of a possible spinal cord emergency comes from the history and the clinical evaluation. Physicians must look for "red flags"--key historical and clinical clues that increase the likelihood of a serious underlying disorder. In considering diagnostic tests, physicians should apply the principles outlined in an algorithm for the evaluation of low back pain prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research). Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging can clearly define anatomy, but these studies are costly and have a high false-positive rate. Referral of high-risk patients to a neurologist or spine specialist may be indicated.
Headaches in Children and Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: Headaches are common during childhood and become more common and increase in frequency during adolescence. The rational, cost-effective evaluation of children with headache begins with a careful history. The first step is to identify the temporal pattern of the headache--acute, acute-recurrent, chronic-progressive, chronic-nonprogressive, or mixed. The next step is a physical and neurologic examination focusing on the optic disc, eye movements, motor asymmetry, coordination, and reflexes. Neuroimaging is not routinely warranted in the evaluation of childhood headache and should be reserved for use in children with chronic-progressive patterns or abnormalities on neurologic examination. Once the headache diagnosis is established, management must be based on the frequency and severity of headache and the impact on the patient's lifestyle. Treatment of childhood migraine includes the intermittent use of oral analgesics and antiemetics and, occasionally, daily prophylactic agents. Often, the most important therapeutic intervention is confident reassurance about the absence of serious underlying neurologic disease.
ABSTRACT: Injuries to the head and neck are common in sports. Sideline physicians must be attentive and prepared with an organized approach to detect and manage these injuries. Because head and neck injuries often occur simultaneously, the sideline physician can combine the head and neck evaluations. When assessing a conscious athlete, the physician initially evaluates the neck for spinal cord injury and determines whether the athlete can be moved safely to the sideline for further evaluation. This decision is made using an on-field assessment of the athlete's peripheral sensation and strength, as well as neck tenderness and range of motion. If these evaluations are normal, axial loading and Spurling testing can be performed. Once the neck has been determined to be normal, the athlete can be assisted to the sideline for assessment of concussion symptoms and severity. This assessment should include evaluations of the athlete's reported symptoms, recently acquired memory, and postural stability. Injured athletes should be monitored with serial examinations, and those with severe, prolonged, or progressive findings require transport to an emergency department for further evaluation.
ABSTRACT: Acute lumbar disk herniations are the most common cause of sciatica. After excluding emergent causes, such as cauda equina syndrome, epidural abscess, fracture, or malignancy, a six-week trial of conservative management is indicated. Patients should be advised to stay active. If symptoms persist after six weeks, or if there is worsening neurologic function, imaging and invasive procedures may be considered. Most patients with lumbar disk herniations improve over six weeks. Because there is no difference in outcomes between surgical and conservative treatment after two years, patient preference and the severity of the disability from the pain should be considered when choosing treatment modalities. If a disk herniation is identified that correlates with physical findings, surgical diskectomy may improve symptoms more quickly than continued conservative management. Epidural steroid injections can also provide short-term relief.
Newborn with Abnormal Arm Posture - Photo Quiz
Computed Tomography After Minor Head Injury - Point-of-Care Guides
ABSTRACT: Skin findings are common during the newborn examination. Although these findings are often benign, it is important to visualize the entire skin surface to distinguish these findings and appropriately reassure parents. The chest should be observed for symmetric movement, pectus excavatum, pectus carinatum, prominent xiphoid, or breast tissue. The infant should be as relaxed as possible so that the physician can more easily detect any abdominal masses, which are often renal in origin. A single umbilical artery may be associated with another congenital abnormality, especially renal anomalies, and intrauterine growth restriction and prematurity. Signs of ambiguous genitalia include clitoromegaly and fused labia in girls, and bilateral undescended testes, a micropenis, or a bifid scrotum in boys. Sacral dimples do not warrant further evaluation if they are less than 0.5 cm in diameter, are located within 2.5 cm of the anal verge, and are not associated with cutaneous markers; dimples that do not fit these criteria require ultrasonography to evaluate for spinal dysraphism. Brachial plexus injuries are most common in newborns who are large for gestational age, and physical therapy may be required to achieve normal function. Patients with abnormal findings on Ortolani and Barlow maneuvers should be evaluated further for hip dysplasia. It is also important to assess newborns for tone and confirm the presence of normal primitive reflexes.