PHYSIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF POSTURE: FUNCTIONS OF SPINAL MUSCLES – REFLEXES AND REFLEX MOVEMENTS

In the body, however, more complex reflexes take place to maintain the balanced erect position. For example, it is not only the forward and backward movements that maintain the erect position, there are lateral (sideways) movements too that need to be coordinated. The stretch reflex explains the basic mechanism by which posture is maintained, although the complexity of reactions or movements is very intricate.When a person trips on the street, a series of quick reflex movements are automatically put into action to prevent the body from falling and injuring itself. Most of these movements are involuntarily and only a few quick response voluntary movements are made to react to this emergency situation. A marvellous part of this reflex action is that in an open space the reflex is entirely one of regaining balance, while if there is a wall or a post handy the arms will involuntarily shoot out for support. Similarly during walking, jogging, working in an erect position and in sports activities, a whole series of reflexes (involuntarily movements) and voluntary movements maintain the posture of the body. In the above situations, the posture changes all the time and therefore it is up to the spinal muscles to shrink, relax and extend to keep the spine erect in these altered positions of the body.*81\330\8*

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