Diagnostic testing


Overview of diagnostic testing

Neurologists treat all types of conditions related to the brain and nerves. If you experience symptoms of a neurological disorder, diagnostic testing allows your neurologist at Dignity Health to make an accurate diagnosis. Find a Doctor near you today to get started.

Why it’s necessary

Neurological symptoms can vary widely, depending on the part of the nervous system affected and the specific condition. Common ones include dizziness, muscle weakness, and difficulties or changes in thinking, sleep, sensory perception, memory, speech, movement, or personality, which are significant enough to interfere with your daily activities. 

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, your doctor may recommend a neurological exam and further testing.

A neurological examination, which includes an evaluation of the brain, spine, and nerve function, usually allows the neurologist to make a diagnosis. During this type of assessment, your doctor will look at your motor skills, or responses to sensory signals like sound and light, in order to check hearing, speech, and vision. Your doctor will also evaluate the way you walk, your muscle strength, your posture, and your balance.

Neurological exams are usually enough to determine whether symptoms are present, but the signs and symptoms of many neurological disorders look similar to each other. They also may mimic those of conditions unrelated to the nervous system.

For this reason, a neurologist uses various types of diagnostic testing to rule out certain conditions and determine or confirm a diagnosis.

Common conditions treated with diagnostic testing

Neurological conditions include a wide range of diseases, injuries, and disorders affecting the central nervous system.

Your nervous system includes your nerves, your motor system, and your brain. Conditions can affect any portion of this system, including your coordination, balance, strength, sensations and senses, cognitive abilities, speech, energy level, memories, and personality. Some serious neurological conditions can also affect your autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions like your heartbeat, breathing, and temperature regulation. 

Our neurologists specialize in treating a vast array of neurological conditions, including:

  • Strokes
  • Cerebral aneurysm or bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain disorders, including epilepsy
  • Movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease
  • Conditions affecting the nerves and muscles, including multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migraines
  • Brain and spinal tumors
  • Infections like meningitis

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.