NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis

Sample Answer for NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis Included After Question

Assignment (1- to 2-page case study analysis)

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.

A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis

Title: NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis

Concepts of Neurological and Musculoskeletal Disorders

The case analysis is based on a 67 years old man who presents to the HCP with chief complaints of arm tremors. The patient has some tremors in the leg. According to the son, the father was stiff, taking him longer to perform simple tasks. Based on a physical examination, the patient hand was at rest, and the fingers exhibited movement. He exhibited a mask-like appearance since his face was not mobile while his gaits were uneven. In addition, the patient shuffled when he walked while his knees and hips flexed forward. Therefore, he exhibited a cog wheeling movement. The patient also identified that he had extreme sweating when engaging in activities. The paper will provide the neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic process based on the patient’s symptoms.

Neurological and Musculoskeletal Pathophysiology Processes

The patient is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects movement; thus, a progressive nervous system disorder (McCance & Huether, 2019). Therefore, Parkinson’s disease is caused by degeneration of the brain, causing the impairment or death of the neurons in the body (McCance & Huether, 2019). This leads to the depletion of dopamine due to the formation of the substantia nigra. Notably, when the neurons are normal, dopamine production takes place. Patients with Parkinson’s disease lack dopamine, which effectively improves the blood flow in the body (Taylor et al., 2020).

Therefore, the patient experienced tremors, stiffness, and difficulties walking due to dopamine insufficiency in the body. This shows that dopamine is effective in achieving smooth muscle movement. In addition, a patient with depleted dopamine is also likely to experience other nonmotor symptoms such as autonomic –neuroendocrine changes (Chung et al., 2018).

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Moreover, patients who have Parkinson’s disease lose the nerve endings responsible for producing the norepinephrine. The chemical helps control the main function in the body, such as blood pressure and heart rate, thus a messenger to the sympathetic nervous system (Chung et al., 2018). The patient with Parkson’s has a brain cell that consists of Lewy bodies that impact the movement, mood, or behavior (Chung et al., 2018). Lewy bodies are abnormal clumped proteins that develop in the nerve cells and are located in the substantia nigra of a person’s brain.

NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis
NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis

Racial/Ethnic Variables

Parkinson’s disease is common to neurodegenerative disease among the elderly. The large insurance database identifies that the most affected ethnicity is the Hispanic, with the highest incidence, followed by the black with the lowest (Hayes, 2019). Based on gender, males experience Parkinson’s disease more than women, while the number of patients diagnosed increases with age (McCance & Huether, 2019). The main reason for the increase in the risk of Parkinson’s among men is due to the toxicant exposure, head trauma, and the X linkage of the genetic risk factors (Hayes, 2019).

Interaction of the Processes

A patient with Parkinson’s disease suffers limited movement. This is due to degeneration of the basal ganglia, which causes a decline in level of dopamine that is inhibited in acetylcholine (Yaday & Kumar, 2022). However, levels of acetylcholine remain active, leading to imbalance in inhibitory neuronal activity and excitatory (Yaday & Kumar, 2022). Therefore, excess neurons cause the ability to generate the voltage of the rapid membrane, whose response is a very small stimulus.


Parkinson’s disease affects a person’s movement since it is a progressive nervous system disorder. Several factors increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, including age, ethnicity, and gender. Men are most likely to suffer from the disease, which can also be hereditary. The early signs of the disease include tremors and trouble in movement.


Chung, S. J., Yoo, H. S., Oh, J. S., Kim, J. S., Ye, B. S., Sohn, Y. H., & Lee, P. H. (2018). Effect of striatal dopamine depletion on cognition in de novo Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism & related disorders, 51, 43-48. Hayes, M. T. (2019). Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism. The American journal of medicine, 132(7), 802-807. McCance, K. L. & Huether, S. E. (2019). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier. Taylor, J. P., McKeith, I. G., Burn, D. J., Boeve, B. F., Weintraub, D., Bamford, C., … & T O’Brien, J. (2020). New evidence on the management of Lewy body dementia. The Lancet Neurology, 19(2), 157-169. Yadav, D., & Kumar, P. (2022). Restoration and targeting of aberrant neurotransmitters in Parkinson’s disease therapeutics. Neurochemistry International, 105327.

A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis

Title: NURS 6501 Module 5 Case Study Analysis


This case study analysis examines the presentation of a 24-year-old female administrative assistant who presents to the emergency department with severe right-sided headaches. The patient reports experiencing these headaches on six occasions in the last two months, with each episode lasting 2-3 days and significantly impacting her ability to concentrate at work. Additionally, she complains of nausea, photophobia (light sensitivity), and has vomited three times in the last 3 hours. The severity of her headache is rated as 10/10 at the time of presentation, and while she has attempted to alleviate her symptoms with ibuprofen and acetaminophen, her relief has been partial. This analysis will explore the underlying neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes that may account for the patient’s symptoms and consider any potential racial/ethnic variables that could impact physiological functioning in the context of her condition. Furthermore, the interaction between these processes and how they contribute to the patient’s overall presentation will be investigated. By analysing these aspects, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors at play in this patient’s case and provide valuable insights for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Neurological Pathophysiologic Processes in Migraine

Migraine is a complex headache disorder involving neurological dysfunction. The patient’s presentation of severe right-sided headache, photophobia, nausea, and vomiting is characteristic of migraine. Migraines are thought to be triggered by cortical spreading depression, a phenomenon where there is a wave of neuronal depolarization followed by prolonged suppression of neuronal activity. This process likely occurs in the brainstem and thalamus, which are responsible for sensory processing, including pain (Mignot et al., 2023).

Photophobia and nausea are linked to abnormal brainstem processing of visual and vestibular information. The thalamus, known for relaying sensory information to the cortex, may also play a role in the amplification of pain signals during migraines (Kuburas & Russo, 2023). Additionally, the abnormal release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), contributes to the dilation of blood vessels and inflammation in the brain, leading to the characteristic throbbing headache. Serotonin, in particular, plays a vital role in regulating pain pathways and mood, and alterations in serotonin levels have been associated with migraine susceptibility.

Musculoskeletal Pathophysiologic Processes and Sedentary Lifestyle

The patient’s role as an administrative assistant involves long periods of sitting at a desk, using a computer, and performing tasks that promote a sedentary lifestyle. This sedentary work environment can lead to muscular tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders due to prolonged poor posture and reduced physical activity. These musculoskeletal issues can potentially contribute to triggering or exacerbating headaches, including migraines (Di Antonio et al., 2021). The increased muscular strain in the neck and shoulder regions can indeed lead to discomfort during a migraine episode.

Interaction of Neurological and Musculoskeletal Processes

The interaction between neurological and musculoskeletal processes can significantly impact the patient’s migraine experience. The muscular tension and pain in the neck and shoulders, caused by stress or poor posture, can lead to mechanical stress on the cervical spine, which may contribute to the frequency and severity of headaches. Moreover, stress and anxiety, common migraine triggers, can lead to increased muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, potentially worsening the patient’s condition.

Racial/Ethnic Variables Impacting Physiological Functioning

In the context of the scenario, while the specific racial or ethnic background of the patient is not mentioned, it is important to consider the potential impact of racial/ethnic variables on physiological functioning in the context of migraines. Research has shown that genetic variations can play a significant role in migraine susceptibility (Eng & Tram, 2021). Certain racial and ethnic groups may have a higher prevalence of specific genetic markers associated with migraines. For instance, studies have suggested that African Americans and Asians may have a lower prevalence of migraines compared to Caucasians. Studies have also identified genetic variants related to ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors that can influence migraine development. These genetic differences among racial and ethnic groups may impact the severity and frequency of migraines, as well as the response to treatment.

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating pain pathways and mood, has been linked to migraines. Racial and ethnic groups may exhibit variations in serotonin metabolism, potentially affecting how they experience and respond to migraines. For example, research has indicated that African Americans and Hispanics may be more likely to underreport pain or express pain differently compared to whites. Differences in serotonin receptor binding potential have been found among different racial and ethnic groups, suggesting potential variations in pain perception and migraine pathophysiology.

Cultural beliefs and practices can also influence how migraines are perceived and managed within different racial and ethnic groups. Certain communities may have specific approaches to healthcare and pain management, including the use of traditional remedies or avoidance of certain triggers. For instance, some Asian cultures may emphasize holistic approaches to healthcare and might rely on traditional remedies or mind-body practices for pain relief. Cultural attitudes toward seeking medical care and expressing pain may also impact how migraines are reported and treated.

Furthermore, racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare access and quality of care can impact migraine diagnosis and treatment. Differences in treatment outcomes and symptom management may occur between racial and ethnic groups because of difficulties gaining access to specialized migraine care or acquiring suitable drugs and therapies.

Understanding and considering these racial/ethnic variables is crucial for healthcare providers in delivering personalized and effective care for patients with migraines from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. By recognizing and addressing these factors, healthcare professionals can ensure patient-centered and culturally sensitive care, ultimately improving migraine management and patient outcomes.

Interaction of Processes Affecting the Patient

The neurological and musculoskeletal systems can interact in certain situations, contributing to the severity or recurrence of headaches, including migraines (Greenbaum & Emodi-Perlman, 2023). For example, poor posture or muscular tension in the neck and shoulders can create mechanical stress on the cervical spine and surrounding structures, potentially triggering or exacerbating headaches.

Additionally, stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for migraines, can lead to muscle tension and pain in the neck and shoulders. Conversely, the pain and discomfort from a severe headache can cause the patient to hold their head and neck in abnormal positions, leading to musculoskeletal strain.

To provide optimal care, healthcare providers should consider both the neurological and musculoskeletal aspects when evaluating and treating the patient. A comprehensive approach may involve addressing headache triggers, providing pain relief and anti-nausea medications for acute migraine attacks, and incorporating strategies to manage stress and muscular tension, such as relaxation techniques and physical therapy.


A comprehensive understanding of the neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes in migraines, as well as the impact of racial/ethnic variables, is crucial in diagnosing and treating patients with complex symptoms. Addressing the patient’s sedentary lifestyle and potential genetic factors like serotonin levels can aid in developing personalized and effective treatment strategies. Healthcare providers must consider both the physiological and cultural aspects to deliver patient-centered and culturally sensitive care, ultimately improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.


Adisa Kuburas, & Andrew F. Russo. (2023). Shared and independent roles of CGRP and PACAP in migraine pathophysiology. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 24(1), 1–14.

Di Antonio, S., Arendt-Nielsen, L., Ponzano, M., Bovis, F., Torelli, P., Finocchi, C., & Castaldo, M. (2022). Cervical musculoskeletal impairments in the 4 phases of the migraine cycle in episodic migraine patients. Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache, 42(9), 827–845.

Eng, S. M., & Tram, J. M. (2021). The Influence of Family and Community Factors on Ethnic Identity. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 49(1), 32–44.

Mignot, C., Faria, V., Hummel, T., Frost, M., Michel, C. M., Gossrau, G., & Haehner, A. (2023). Migraine with aura: less control over pain and fragrances? The Journal of Headache and Pain, 24(1), 55.

Tzvika Greenbaum, & Alona Emodi-Perlman. (2023). Headache and orofacial pain: A traffic-light prognosis-based management approach for the musculoskeletal practice. Frontiers in Neurology, 14.