Musculoskeletal and Neurological Systems Essay

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Systems Essay

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Systems Essay

It is no coincidence that the neurological system and the musculoskeletal system share both anatomical, physiological, and functional connectivity. This structure-function relationship between the neuronal and muscular topology is responsible for influencing the disease process, the pathogenesis, presentation, diagnostic formulation, and treatment of both systems. Therefore, an understanding of the symptoms of alterations in neurological and musculoskeletal systems is a critical step in diagnosis and treatment and helps in educating the affected patients. This paper provides an account of the interplay between the neurological and the musculoskeletal system, how the racial and ethnic variables impact the physiological functioning, and how these processes interact to affect the patient.

Pathophysiologic processes that would account for the patient presenting these symptoms

Conspicuously, the patient has a history of hypertension and smoking that form the basis of his clinical symptoms including left-sided weakness of both the upper and lower limbs and a mild left facial droop. These features suggest a stroke. Hypertension is a well-established cause of stroke through various mechanisms that include acceleration of the arteriosclerotic process in the cerebral arteries thus increasing the risk of stenosis, embolism, and consequently infarction. Furthermore, high intravascular pressure within the cerebral arteries leads to considerable damage to the endothelial lining and alteration of the smooth muscle function (Wajngarten & Silva, 2019). This endothelial damage and altered blood cell-endothelium interaction lead to the formation of local thrombi, ischemia, and cerebral infarction whereas smooth muscle cell degeneration leads to intracerebral hemorrhages.

Smoking on the other hand is associated with an increased risk of developing a stroke. According to Pan et al. (2019) smokers have an increased risk of overall stroke compared with nonsmokers, with a pooled odds ratio of 1.61 (95% CI: 1.34–1.93). Tobacco smoke contains a lot of chemicals that include nicotine, carbon monoxide, and cyanide among many others. These chemicals increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis, platelet aggregation, hypertension, low levels of high-density cholesterol, and high levels of low-density cholesterol. A complex and multifactorial interaction of the abovementioned factors leads to impaired vascular function resulting in both cardiovascular compromise and cerebral embolism and infarction.


Racial/ethnic variables that may impact physiological functioning

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Generally, evidence shows that a racial disparity exists in the presentation of this physiological process, affecting more blacks as compared to whites. According to a study by Howard et al. (2019), the black individuals aged between 45 and 64 years had a 3-fold increase of developing stroke as compared with the whites. Black individuals have a higher preponderance of stroke because of their high risk to develop metabolic conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking (Tong et al., 2021).

How these processes interact to affect the patient

Neurological and musculoskeletal processes work hand in hand. Every movement the body makes requires communication between the brain and the muscles. Consequently, a pathologic process affecting the neurological process can lead to musculoskeletal manifestations such as hemiplegia, muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, and muscle pain among others. For instance, chronic musculoskeletal pain is principally considered a nervous system disorder as a result of nervous system plasticity (George & Bishop, 2018). Similarly, several factors such as smoking, hypertension, aging, and racial variables impact these physiologic systems resulting in an inherent complexity of interactions that affect patient functioning.


Musculoskeletal and neurological systems are correlated. Nurses must assess both systems at a given point for effective diagnosis and treatment. It is also elemental to educate the patient concerning modifiable risk factors such as smoking and hypertension that result in occurrences that limit the functioning of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems.


George, S. Z., & Bishop, M. D. (2018). Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a nervous system disorder… now what? Physical Therapy98(4), 209–213.

Howard, V. J., Madsen, T. E., Kleindorfer, D. O., Judd, S. E., Rhodes, J. D., Soliman, E. Z., Kissela, B. M., Safford, M. M., Moy, C. S., McClure, L. A., Howard, G., & Cushman, M. (2019). Sex and race differences in the association of incident ischemic stroke with risk factors. JAMA Neurology76(2), 179–186.

Pan, B., Jin, X., Jun, L., Qiu, S., Zheng, Q., & Pan, M. (2019). The relationship between smoking and stroke: A meta-analysis: A meta-analysis. Medicine98(12), e14872.

Tong, X., Schieb, L., George, M. G., Gillespie, C., Merritt, R. K., & Yang, Q. (2021). Racial/ethnic and geographic variations in long-term survival among Medicare beneficiaries after acute ischemic stroke. Preventing Chronic Disease18(200242), E15.

Wajngarten, M., & Silva, G. S. (2019). Hypertension and stroke: Update on treatment. European Cardiology14(2), 111–115.


Case Study Analysis
Concepts of Neurological and Musculoskeletal Disorders

An understanding of the neurological and musculoskeletal systems is a critically important component of disease and disorder diagnosis and treatment. This importance is magnified by the impact that that these two systems can have on each other. A variety of factors and circumstances affecting the emergence and severity of issues in one system can also have a role in the performance of the other.
Effective analysis often requires an understanding that goes beyond these systems and their mutual impact. For example, patient characteristics such as, racial and ethnic variables can play a role.
An understanding of the symptoms of alterations in neurological and musculoskeletal systems is a critical step in diagnosis and treatment. For APRNs this understanding can also help educate patients and guide them through their treatment plans.
In this Assignment, you examine a case study and analyze the symptoms presented. You identify the elements that may be factors in the diagnosis, and you explain the implications to patient health.
To prepare:

Case Study Assignment

74-year-old male with a history of hypertension and smoking, is having dinner with his wife when he develops sudden onset of difficulty speaking, with drooling from the left side of his mouth, and weakness in his left hand. His wife asks him if he is all right and the patient denies any difficulty. His symptoms progress over the next 10 minutes until he cannot lift his arm and has trouble standing. The patient continues to deny any problems. The wife sits the man in a chair and calls 911. The EMS squad arrives within 5 minutes. Upon arrival in the ED, patient‘s blood pressure was 178/94, pulse 78 and regular, PaO2 97% on room air. Neuro exam – Cranial nerves- Mild left facial droop. Motor- Right arm and leg extremity with 5/5 strength. Left arm cannot resist gravity, left leg with mild drift. Sensation intact. Neglect- Mild neglect to left side of body. Language- Expressive and receptive language intact.

In your Case Study Analysis related to the scenario provided, explain the following:
• Both the neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes that would account for the patient presenting these symptoms.
• Any racial/ethnic variables that may impact physiological functioning.
• How these processes interact to affect the patient.

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