How Do We Test Reflexes?

Physiotherapist performs two type of examination; one is subjective and the other is objective. The subjective examination involves the question and answer session while the objective examination involves the tests of the structure of the body to see which among the parts have implications or problems. This examination is called neurological examination. It involves the checking of the vital area of the body especially the pathways of the nerves to see if it is working properly and nothing seriously amiss or inappropriate in the system. The physiotherapist will conduct series of tests that involves the muscle contraction, feelings, position of the joints, and the circulatory control.

Reflex testing incorporates an assessment to the function of the body’s sensory and motor responsibilities. It is important to the integrity of the nervous system in all levels. The physiotherapy exam will test the muscles around the affected area that is often painful because of lack of its use or due to pain of the muscle contraction. The test may reveal very specific weakness of the nerve such as the sciatica area. The test involves the resistance of the muscles as the patient tries to perform the movement being requested by the physician and will be graded based on the Oxford scale of 0-5 out of 5.

For the calf, quadriceps, and buttocks, the physician will ask you to perform movements that are against your body movements. In this way the physician will know if there is a problem when he hits the tendon at the knee and reacts by contraction with a hammer. Reflex hammer have weighted heads that will swing the tendon with adequate force. It will test if the nerves are conducting and responding properly at your biceps, triceps, ankles, and knees.

When you do reflex testing, make sure that the muscle group to be tested are in neutral position, the tendon is attached to the muscles and that it can be easily struck by a reflex hammer. You, as a patient should flex your forearm while doing the palpate the fossa. While the reflex training is done firmly, it should not provoke pain as it may cause injury if that is the case.

By basing on the series of examination that were conducted to test reflexes, the physician will look for the reflexes that are less pronounced and affected in order for the reflexes to be corrected and respond to body movements and actions properly and effectively.

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