Failed Part Of A Field Sobriety Test When You Were Sober? You Should Get A Neurological Exam!

Anyone who has ever been drunk before knows the feeling of a spinning world. It may explain the constant circular or swaying movements people have when they are drunk, as if they are on a ship in troubled waters. Because of this imbalance issue that people have when drunk, many police agencies have adopted the Romberg test as part of the field sobriety test—because it essentially tests for dizziness. 

The Romberg test is actually a neurological exam that is conducted by neurologists, neurosurgeons, physicians, and others in the medical field. Here's what you need to know if you've ever failed the Romberg test as part of a field sobriety test even though you were completely sober. 

Romberg Test

The Romberg test is a tool that is used to diagnose sensory ataxia, which is the loss of coordination caused by abnormal proprioception. Normal, your body is able to sense and control movement without having to look. So to test this, you are asked to close your eyes, place your arms out to the sides or in front of you, and touch your finger to your nose. You should be able to do this without falling over or poking your eye out. If you have problems with this and you were completely sober, there may be something wrong with your neurological functioning. 

Recently, several courts have determined that Romberg tests are not appropriate to be used in field sobriety tests. First of all, these tests should only be done in a controlled setting, such as a doctor's office. Doing these tests along the side of the road could easily cause the test subjects to sway and give inaccurate results, particularly if the ground is not completely flat. More importantly, medical conditions can result in a failed Romberg test. 

Neurological Conditions 

If you have failed the Romberg test during a field sobriety test, especially if you were sober, you should go to a neurologist, like those at Brain Matters Research, as soon as possible for a true and thorough neurological exam, which will also include various tests of your senses, reflexes, strength, cerebellar functioning, and cranial nerves. 

You won't need to do anything special to prepare for a neurological exam. However, be sure that you are adequately hydrated before you step foot in the exam room. The reason for this is because research has shown that dehydration can reduce your cognitive and motor skills, and make you more pain sensitive, which could affect the results of your exam.

Failing a neurological exam can be a red flag that you have a serious medical condition, such as a brain aneurysm, a brain tumor, a Chiari malformation, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or a number of other medical conditions.