Which body systems are evaluated in the physical exam of multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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A thorough physical examination, including neurologic assessment, is critical to determine deficits in MS. All systems must be addressed, including cognition, mood, motor, sensory, and musculoskeletal, as well as the following:

  • Reflexes

  • Coordination

  • Bulbar function

  • Vision

  • Gait

  • Skin

Bulbar involvement typically refers to dysfunction of lower cranial nerves whose nuclei reside in the lower brainstem. Manifestations include dysphagia, which does not occur often in early MS and so may be attributed to a different disorder.

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