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Walker HK, room WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. Third edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990.



In a regular person, as soon as a muscle tendon is tapped briskly, the muscle immediately contracts because of a two-neuron reflex arc entailing the spinal or brainstem segment that innervates the muscle. The afferent neuron whose cell body lies in a dorsal source ganglion innervates the muscle or Golgi tendon organ associated with the muscles; the efferent neuron is an alpha motoneuron in the anterior horn of the cord. The cerebral cortex and a number of brainstem nuclei exert affect over the sensory input of the muscle spindles by method of the gamma motoneurons the are situated in the anterior horn; this neurons it is provided a collection of muscle yarn that regulate the length of the muscle spindle itself.

Hyporeflexia is an lacking or diminished solution to tapping. That usually suggests a disease that involves one or much more of the components of the two-neuron reflex arc itself.

Hyperreflexia describes hyperactive or repeating (clonic) reflexes. This usually suggest an discontinuity of corticospinal and also other to decrease pathways that affect the reflex arc because of a suprasegmental lesion, the is, a lesion over the level that the spinal reflex pathways.

By convention the deep tendon reflexes room graded together follows:

Whether the 1 + and also 3 + responses are normal counts on what they were previously, the is, the patient"s reflex history; what the various other reflexes are; and evaluation of linked findings such together muscle tone, muscle strength, or other evidence of disease. Asymmetry the reflexes says abnormality.


All that the generally used deep tendon reflexes space presented here in a group. In a screening examination you will usually uncover it an ext convenient to integrate the reflex examination into the remainder of the check of that component of the body; the is, perform the upper extremity reflexes when evaluating the rest of the upper extremity. Once an abnormality that the reflexes is doubt or discovered, however, the reflexes must be examined as a team with mindful attention paid to the technique of the examination.

Valid test results are best obtained once the patient is relaxed and not thinking around what you space doing. After a basic explanation, mingle the details instructions with inquiries or comments designed to gain the patient to speak at some length about some other topic. If you cannot acquire any solution with a specific reflex—ankle jerks are usually the many difficult—then try the following:

Get the patient to placed slight stress on the muscle gift tested. One technique of afford this is to have actually the patience strongly contract a muscle no being tested.
In the top extremity, have actually the patient make a fist with one hand if the opposite extremity is gift tested.
In general, any means to odor the patient from what you are doing will enhance the possibilities of obtaining the reflex. Having the patient counting or offer the surname of children are examples.

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The finest position is for the patience to be sitting on the next of the bed or assessing table. The Babinski reflex hammer (Figure 72.1) is really good. Usage a brisk however not painful tap. Use your wrist, not your arm, for the action. In an extremity a useful maneuver is come elicit the reflex native several different positions, rapidly shifting the limb and performing the test. Use varying force and also note any type of variance in response.