The Importance of Spinal Reflex Control and NaturalTreatment
Spinal reflex control allows your body to react automaticallywithout the effort of thought. The reflex arc is a nerve pathwayinvolved in a reflex action. In your vertebrae, most sensoryneurons do not pass straight to the brain but synapse in the spinalcord.
The reflex arc involves three neurons: a sensory neuron, anintermediate neuron, and a motor neuron.
Your reflex begins with the stimulus(such as a cold wind or heat from a stove), followed by areceptor (a receptor is how you respondto the sensory information and transmit the signal to a sensorynerve), then a sensory neuron (thispasses your nerve impulse to the spinal cord), anintermediate neuron (this links thesensory neuron to the motor neuron in your spinal cord), amotor neuron (carries the nerve impulsefrom the spinal cord to a muscle), and finally aneffector (the muscle that is stimulatedto produce an effect).
Reflexes allow our bodies to protect themselves with fastreaction times using quick automatic processing. The presence andstrength of spinal reflex control is a significant sign of yournervous system development and function.
What Having Poor SpinalReflex Control Can Tell You
Having normal spinal reflex control means the body is respondingappropriately; however, those who see an absent in their reflexescould mean their spinal cord, peripheral nerve, nerve root, ormuscle has been damaged. When your reflex response is not normal,it could be due to your sensory (feeling) and/or motor (movement)nerves being disrupted.
Below are some examples of what abnormal spinal reflex controlscan mean:
- Glabellar Reflex (Myerson’s sign) - Theglabella is an area between the eyes and above your nose. When theglabella is tapped, it is a common reaction to blink. Typically,when a person is tapped multiple times their blinking will stop,but if the blinking continues with each tap on the glabella, it isa Myerson’s sign. This is mostly seen in those with Parkinson’sdisease and usually means there is some brain abnormality.
- Clonus Reflex - This is a hyperactivereflex that can be a condition or caused by another condition. Thisreflex is tested by moving the foot in a specific way. Althoughreacting with one or a few twitches is normal, patients who reactby having an involuntary, repetitive muscle spasm where theyquickly flex the foot repeatedly for several seconds could havespinal cord or brain damage. This spastic reaction is a regularsign of an upper motor neuron disorder or a spinal cordinjury.
- Snout Reflex - Also known as pouting orpursing of the lips, the snout reflex can be either bilateral(happen on both sides) or unilateral (happen on one side) and isactivated by a light tap on closed lips near the midline. This is anatural childhood reflex that vanishes with age and is consideredan abnormal reflex in adults. For adults who have this type ofreaction, it can indicate a frontal lobe problem (this can includea frontal lobe stroke or frontal lobe head trauma).
- Babinski Reflex - A normal reflex ininfants and one of the most common reflexes tested by neurologistsby scratching the bottom of the foot. For adults who have thebottom of their foot scratched, their toes usually curl down, butin children, until the age of two the toes will go up and fan out.If an adult responds with the same reaction of fanning out andpointing up their toes, it could be a sign of a stroke, meningitis(swelling of the protective membranes that cover your brain andspinal cord), brain tumor, or a spinal cord injury.
- Hoffman’s Reflex - Tested by flicking thepatient’s middle or ring finger and observing the thumb to see ifit twitches in response. This reflex, twitch in the thumb, isusually present in healthy individuals. If the twitch in one thumbis more significant than the other thumb, it could be a sign of aneurological disorder. When the reflex is stronger on one side itcan usually mean there is an injury to the spinal cord.
How do These Reflexes Connect to the SpinalCord?
As mentioned earlier, most sensory neurons do not pass straightto the brain but synapse in the spinal cord (your reflex arc). Thespinal cord also houses your central nervous system that consistsof your brain and spinal cord. Your spinal cord carries messagesfrom the brain to the rest of your body to coordinate movement andsensation.
Having a spinal cord misalignment can cause spinal reflexcontrol to function improperly and produce abnormal reflexes.
How does Upper Cervical Help Spinal ReflexControl?
Upper cervical chiropractic is the study of the top two bones ofthe spinal cord, called the Atlas and the Axis. When one of the toptwo bones are out of alignment, it can change the form of yourentire spine and weaken the tissue and muscles surrounding it.
The spinal cord will follow the alignment of your top two bones;this is because the upper cervical misalignment causes your head totilt and as a response, the spine will twist, turn, and curve untilthe head is leveled again.
This domino effect creates misalignments and pressure throughoutthe entire spine and your brain stem (located in the upper cervicalarea); this will affect your spinal reflex control.
When an upper cervical chiropractor adjusts the misalignment,the pressure is taken off the brain stem to enable the proper brainto body communication again and bringing balance back to yournervous system functions.
Having your brain stem working properly allows the body torepair and heal damages throughout the body that cause the spinalreflex control to work improperly. A healthy spine and proper brainstem function will also allow the muscles and tissues surroundingthe spine to strengthen and heal.
Upper cervical adjustments help the most significant parts ofthe body: the brain stem (which controls messages between the brainand the rest of the entire body) and your central nervous system(which controls most functions of your body and mind, consisting ofboth the brain and the spinal cord).
Since upper cervical adjustments correct the body’s maincommunication and functions, it allows your body to heal and repairitself without interference. It is very common for patients whohave had upper cervical adjustments to notice changes throughouttheir body shortly after the first adjustment. If you or someoneyou know has signs of improper spinal reflex control, uppercervical adjustments will help you repair and can heal the cause ofdamage.