NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

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

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. 


Photo Credit: jijomathai – 

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. 

NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: Case Study Analysis
NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

To prepare: 

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study scenario for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor. 

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. 

Day 7 of Week 8 

Submit your Case Study Analysis Assignment by Day 7 of Week 8. 

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The sample paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting. 

Submission and Grading Information 

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following: 

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “M5Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name. 
  • Click the Module 5 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment. 
  • Click the Module 5 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area. 
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “M5Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open. 
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database. 
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission. 

Grading Criteria 


To access your rubric: 

Module 5 Assignment Rubric 


Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity 


To check your Assignment draft for authenticity: 

Submit your Module 5 Assignment draft and review the originality report. 


Submit Your Assignment by Day 7 of Week 8 


To participate in this Assignment: 

Module 5 Assignment 

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

Title: NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

The scenario concerns a 74-year-old hypertensive patient who suddenly experienced difficulty speaking, drooling on the left side of the mouth, and left-hand weakness. The symptoms worsen within 10 minutes to the point that he cannot raise his arm and cannot stand. However, he persistently denies his problems. The patient’s vital statistics include BP-178/94, HR-78, as well as PaO2 97% on room air. Slight left facial droop, left arm inability to resist gravity, mild left leg drift, as well as mild neglect of the left side of the body are the abnormal neurological exam findings on the patient. The client’s dysarthria is modest to severe, but the airway is protected. The objective of this paper is to describe the pathophysiologic processes that cause the patient’s symptoms and the racial/ethnic characteristics that can influence physiological functioning. 

Pathophysiologic Processes That Would Account for the Symptoms 

The patient’s symptoms can be attributed to a neurological pathophysiologic process, Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). ICH is caused by bleeding within the brain due to a rupture of a blood vessel resulting in hemorrhagic stroke. Hypertension is the most important cause of hemorrhage, and it mostly occurs during activity. The patient’s symptoms could be due to an elevated BP, which caused changes within the arterial wall, increasing its risk of rupture. The brain then got damaged due to bleeding, resulting in edema, distortion, and displacement, which directly irritated the brain tissue (McGurgan et al., 2020). The patient likely has right-brain damage, which has led to left-sided hemiplegia, left-sided neglect, and denying symptoms.  

Musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes that may have led to the symptoms include a combination of muscle disuse, denervation, remodeling, and spasticity. Defects in the descending neural pathways cause impaired neuromotor control and structural and functional changes in the muscle tissue (McGurgan et al., 2020). The processes lead to muscle hypotrophy, weakness, fatigue, and altered motor control. This explains the patient’s inability to stand, lift his arm, or resist gravity, as well as muscle weakness and leg drift.  

How the Processes Interact to Affect the Patient 

The pathophysiological processes in the patient’s hemorrhagic stroke interacted causing the abrupt onset of symptoms that worsened over ten minutes possibly due to ongoing bleeding. The musculoskeletal and neurological pathophysiological processes affected the patient by causing motor and neurological deficits (Morais Filho et al., 2021). Consequently, the patients experienced a loss of voluntary movement like inability to stand, lift arm, and resist gravity. He also experienced neurological deficits like drooling, muscle weakness, and leg drift.  

Racial/Ethnic Factors That May Affect Physiological Functioning 

Like many health conditions, the causes of hemorrhagic stroke are presumed to be a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. Kittner et al. (2021) explain that Blacks and Hispanics have a higher risk of ICH), than their White counterparts, especially at a younger age. The study established that more than half of all ICH cases among Black and Hispanic populations were attributed to hypertension. Besides, among Blacks and Hispanics, APOE was not associated with lobar ICH, while hypertension remained a strong risk factor for this subtype (Kittner et al., 2021). Furthermore, compared with White persons, Black and Hispanic patients had Intracerebral hemorrhage at a much younger age and had a higher population attributable risk (PAR) percentage for treated and untreated hypertension and lack of health insurance, which affects physiological functioning. 


The patient’s symptoms were due to hemorrhagic stroke secondary to ICH, which is caused by bleeding to the brain. He has left-sided muscle weakness, neglect to the left side of the body, left facial droop, and dysarthria can be attributed to a stroke on the right side of the brain. Inadequately managed hypertension and lack of health insurance among minority ethnic/racial groups and the early onset of ICH in Black and Hispanic populations puts them at risk of hemorrhagic stroke.  



Kittner, S. J., Sekar, P., Comeau, M. E., Anderson, C. D., Parikh, G. Y., Tavarez, T., … & Woo, D. (2021). Ethnic and racial variation in intracerebral hemorrhage risk factors and risk factor burden. JAMA Network Open, 4(8), e2121921-e2121921. 

McGurgan, I. J., Ziai, W. C., Werring, D. J., Al-Shahi Salman, R., & Parry-Jones, A. R. (2020). Acute intracerebral hemorrhage: Diagnosis and management. Practical Neurology, 21(2), 128–136. Advance online publication. 

Morais Filho, A. B., Rego, T., Mendonça, L. L., Almeida, S. S., Nóbrega, M., Palmieri, T. O., Giustina, G., Melo, J. P., Pinheiro, F. I., & Guzen, F. P. (2021). The physiopathology of spontaneous hemorrhagic stroke: a systematic review. Reviews In The Neurosciences, 32(6), 631–658. 

A Sample Answer 2 For the Assignment: NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

Title: NURS 6501: Module 5 Assignment: 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.