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Indications for Deep Tendon Reflex Examination
The examination and evaluation of deep tendon reflexes are indicated for a wide variety of conditions that affect the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), Central Nervous System (CNS), or both. Common signs and/or symptoms that may indicate the need to examine deep tendon reflexes are as follows:
  • Developmental asymmetries
  • Alteration and/or compensation in movement patterns
  • Unstable and/or poorly adaptive movement patterns
  • Involuntary movements
  • Unsteady or altered gait
  • Altered sensitivity
  • Weakness
  • Spinal pain and/or injury
  • Disregard or neglect of a body part
  • Lack of awareness of injury or pain
  • Excessive awareness of pain or other sensation(s)
  • Positive neurological screening tests
  • Patient complaints of the above, such as altered hot/cold, sharp/dull, or light touch sensation, unsteady or clumsy movements, especially those resulting in falls and/or injuries, and changes in cognition, including those expressed by friends and family members
  • Safety concerns observed during routine, basic, and advanced activities of daily living
  • Side to side asymmetries and/or unexplained progression in any of the above
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Section: Introduction
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