What Is A Reflex?

Posted Jan 14, 2022 at 08:29

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Most people will have at least one reflex of theirs tested at some point in their lives, especially if you have undergone care with a manual therapist. It is part of our diagnostic criteria and tell us lots about how a person’s body is functioning.

Reflexes play a significant role in protecting us from harm and allow us to do the thousands of complex and specific actions every day without needing to give any thought to them.

One example of this (NOT TO TRY AT HOME PLEASE) is when we accidentally touch something really hot. Before we can even process the pain, we move our hand away from the object to minimize damage.

This is because the reflex pathway is shorter than our conscious movement pathway, thus allowing us to act quicker in certain scenarios.

Reflex pathways are shorter as they skip out the brain in the decision-making process. Instead, the whole arc takes place in the nerves and spinal cord only. This pathway is as follows:

Sensation detected by tissues Message sent to spinal cordMessage received by spinal cord and sent to a Motor neuron (a specialised nerve cell that deals with initiating movement)Motor neurone sends signal back to muscles in relevant areaProtective movement initiated.

As you can tell, this is a system we need working as efficiently as possible. Any disruption of the nerves or spinal cord can lead to this not happening and can potentially cause you harm!

We assess all of the bodies reflexes at the clinic, even the primitive ones! So if you would like a full check of your nervous system, why not book a FREE discovery visit at the clinic!