Muscle & Reflex Testing

What is Muscle & Reflex Testing?

Chronic back pain may be caused by various conditions or injuries, and therefore different causes can eventually affect a number of systems throughout the body, including the central nervous system, skeletal system, and muscular system. It’s for this reason that doctors will typically perform various tests in order to locate weaknesses in one or even all of the systems in order to accurately pinpoint and determine a diagnosis.

Tests performed that target a patient’s muscular strength, nerves, and reflexes are nearly always one important aspect of their physical exam. These tests help indicate specific issues such as sciatica, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and other key spinal conditions as well.

Some of the Most Common Reasons Why People Tend to Develop the Condition may Include Any of the Following:

During a physical exam, your doctor may request that you do the following:

  • Walk on the soles of the feet
  • Walk on the heels
  • Walk on the toes

These tests are usefully in determining the strength of the muscles in your legs. They also help the doctor see if there’s any nerve damage stemming from degenerative spinal aberration.

Regarding the reflex test, the doctor will gently hit the knee as well as the back of your heel using a rubber hammer. If you have normal reflexes, the strike from the hammer should ideally cause a clear twitch in the leg that’s being tested.

Muscle & Reflex Testing Reveals Nerve Damage

Reflexes test general neural function and may be either exaggerated or depressed. If nerve dysfunction is present, the reflex response size will help determine where the dysfunction originated from. For instance, an exaggerated response could point towards spasticity caused be a key central nervous system injury. On the other hand, if a patient has difficulty walking on their heels or rising to their toes, or if the test shows little to no reaction, it could indicate nerve damage, or perhaps a nerve root that’s compressed from a bulging disc, prolapsed disc, or peripheral nerve damage.

Every nerve root in your spine consists of two different fibers: a motor fiber and a sensory fiber. The motor fiber is in charge of letting key muscle groups move, while the sensory fiber delivers sensation to certain areas of skin throughout the body, known as a dermatome. The key muscle group that’s supplied by the exact same nerve root is known as a myotome. If your doctor finds weakness in a particular myotome, it could mean that the corresponding nerve is in some way damaged, usually as a result of a disc injury that is making the nerve root compressed.

V. K. Puppala, M.D. is located in Villa Rica, GA and serves patients throughout the Metro Atlanta area. He is skilled in treating his patients with respect and compassion. He achieves outstanding pain relief results using a multidisciplinary approach by incorporating a number of minimally invasive interventional techniques, medication management, and practical restoration. Call the office of Dr. Puppala today at 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to schedule your initial visit.

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Contact Us Today

Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to schedule an appointment today with Dr. Puppala at his practice in Lithia Springs, Georgia.