Week 8: Assessment of the Musculoskeletal System
A 46-year-old man walks into a doctor’s office complaining of tripping over doorways more frequently. He does not know why. What could be the causes of this condition?
Without the ability to use the complex structure and range of movement afforded by the musculoskeletal system, many of the physical activities individuals enjoy would be curtailed. Maintaining the health of the musculoskeletal system will ensure that patients live a life of full mobility. One of the most basic steps that can be taken to preserve the health of the musculoskeletal system is to perform an assessment.
This week, you will explore how to assess the musculoskeletal system.
Evaluate abnormal musculoskeletal findings
Apply concepts, theories, and principles relating to health assessment techniques and diagnoses for the musculoskeletal system
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)
Discussion: Assessing Musculoskeletal Pain
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Fotosearch RF
The body is constantly sending signals about its health. One of the most easily recognized signals is pain. Musculoskeletal conditions comprise one of the leading causes of severe long-term pain in patients. The musculoskeletal system is an elaborate system of interconnected levers that provides the body with support and mobility. Because of the interconnectedness of the musculoskeletal system, identifying the causes of pain can be challenging. Accurately interpreting the cause of musculoskeletal pain requires an assessment process informed by patient history and physical exams.
In this Discussion, you will consider case studies that describe abnormal findings in patients seen in a clinical setting.
By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to one of the following specific case studies for this Discussion. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.
Your Discussion post should be in the Episodic/Focused SOAP Note format rather than the traditional narrative style Discussion posting format. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Episodic/Focused SOAP Template in the Week 5 Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that all Episodic/Focused SOAP notes have specific data included in every patient case.
Review the following case studies:
Case 1: Back Pain
Photo Credit: University of Virginia. (n.d.). Lumbar Spine Anatomy [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/ext/5lumbar/01anatomy.html. Used with permission of University of Virginia.
A 42-year-old male reports pain in his lower back for the past month. The pain sometimes radiates to his left leg. In determining the cause of the back pain, based on your knowledge of anatomy, what nerve roots might be involved? How would you test for each of them? What other symptoms need to be explored? What are your differential diagnoses for acute low back pain? Consider the possible origins using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) guidelines as a framework. What physical examination will you perform? What special maneuvers will you perform?
ith regard to the case study you were assigned:
Review this week’s Learning Resources, and consider the insights they provide about the case study.
Consider what history would be necessary to collect from the patient in the case study you were assigned.
Consider what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate to gather more information about the patient’s condition. How would the results be used to make a diagnosis?
Identify at least five possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.
Note: Before you submit your initial post, replace the subject line (“Discussion – Week 8”) with “Review of Case Study ___.” Fill in the blank with the number of the case study you were assigned.
By Day 3 of Week 8
Post an episodic/focused note about the patient in the case study to which you were assigned using the episodic/focused note template provided in the Week 5 resources. Provide evidence from the literature to support diagnostic tests that would be appropriate for each case. List five different possible conditions for the patient’s differential diagnosis, and justify why you selected each.
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