Autonomic reflexes of the spinal cord and degenerative disc disease

Вегетативные рефлексы спинного мозга и остеохондроз

The location of the spinal cord

The spinal cord is part of the Central nervous system and performs several important functions. If the brain is primarily a control center of the body, the spinal cord is a conductor of signals from the brain to the peripheral organs. Conductive function of the spinal cord based on the coordinated contraction of the muscles and their functional groups.

Symmetrical tonic neck reflex leads to hyperprolactemia the flexor and extensor muscles. As a result, lowering of the head at the same time increases the tonus of the flexors of the upper extremities and the extensors of the lower. When the head rises, the opposite is happening: the tone is enhanced in extensor of the upper limbs and flexors of the lower. This leads to a restriction on the possibility of coordinated movements of the limbs and head and the overall delay of the development of musculoskeletal function of a person.

Inadequate response of the flexor and extensor muscles does the symmetrical tonic neck reflex is the main cause of lifelong disability of a child suffering cerebral palsy. Disorders in the spinal cord lead to an imbalance of the flexor and extensor muscles and the formation of muscle-tonic spasm or tonic reflexes.

A vivid example of such violations is the tonic neck reflex. This is a reaction of the muscles in the neck to change the position of the head, which is, above all, to increase muscle tone. A tone breaks the sequence of development of the processes of equilibrium and rectification. Tonic reflexes are the norm for children in the first three months of life. Children with cerebral palsy retain these reflexes at a later age and not allow the child to develop normally.

The example shows how important spinal reflexes in human life and the complexity of their manifestations primarily in harmonizing the muscular system.

Unconditioned reflexes of the spinal cord

Вегетативные рефлексы спинного мозга и остеохондроз

The reflex arc

The consistency of reflexes is provided by the coordinated interaction of excitatory and inhibitory processes. At the level of the spinal cord such coordination provides muscle tone, balance and consistent performance of the flexors and extensors.

They can be combined for groups of bodies and the nature of feedback.

Reflexes of the first category:

  • Regulators of the activities of the limbs. Provide consistency of movement that is provided by muscle-synchronized activities of the flexor and extensor muscles. Under the control of these regulators is all the different muscles from the latissimus dorsi to the small muscles of the hand.
  • Reflexes that control the functioning of the abdominal cavity. They control the work primarily the abdominal muscles and organ systems, ensuring normal digestion.
  • Effectors of the pelvis. Of particular importance is the regulation of the sphincter of the rectum and urinary channels. If damaged lower spine these sphincters cease to work, and urination and defecation become arbitrary.
  • Skin reflexes. They are called protective. The protective function is expressed in the skin reaction to different stimuli. Most of them can be attributed to atavism, that is, to the reflexes that have lost their value to humans, but were of great significance to the earlier evolutionary forms of mammals. Usually cutaneous reflexes contribute to the increased muscle-flexor reflexes. Skin reflexes generated by the overlap of the sensitive areas in the spinal cord, are used to influence the various internal organs through stimulation of certain skin areas. This method of treatment called reflexology.
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    Reflexes of the second category:

  • Flexor and extensor. These muscle reflexes are in such close cooperation that divide them into two taxa without harm to assess their functional significance is impossible. They can be divided into phase and tonic. Phase is a response to a single stimuli. A classic example of the phase of the reflex is the knee-extensor reflex, which is manifested in the reaction of the legs in response to a blow to the quadriceps tendon under the knee Cup. Tonic extensor reflexes occur in the long-running muscle-extensor contraction and prolonged stretching of the tendons of these muscles. The function of these reflexes is to maintain static conditions, that is, the posture of the body. These reflexes provide the vertical position of the body, the ability is long to be in the same position. A normal manifestation of tonic reflexes contributes to maintaining correct posture.
  • Rhythmic reflexes. Provide repeated extension and flexion of the limbs. The pathological manifestation of this reflex manifests itself in the tremor — tremor of the limbs, head, muscles, etc.
  • Postnichestve. These are reflexes poses that are responsible for the constant updating of the distribution of muscle tone when you change body position. This is a complex group of reflexes, so their centers are localized in different parts of the Central nervous system. At the level of the cervical reflexes are controlled by bending and twisting of the head and synchronized with the top and rear. This synchronization ensures the adequacy of the behavioral responses of humans and other mammals. Paralysis, arising from any breach of this group of reflexes leads to a misalignment of such reactions and abnormalities in body movements and behavior.
  • The guarantor of constancy of performance of the functions of the spinal cord is the reflex arc that is designed to lock the pulses in a single chain. This isolation is provided by the transition pulse from receptors, i.e. sensors of the contact of the body with the environment, to effectors that carry information to the Central nervous system, then the synapses — transmitter impulses to effectors that need to communicate it to the team. Organ that responds to command changes, and therefore passes the pulse on the changed condition.

    Thus, the reflex arc is a permanent circuit for the transfer of information through the body, designed to ensure the adequacy of the response of an organism to changes in the environment. A large part of the pathology of the spinal cord gives rise to irregularities in the transfer of such information, that is, the failure of the reflex arc.

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    Autonomic reflexes

    Вегетативные рефлексы спинного мозга и остеохондроз

    What is the relationship of brain signals with the limb

    With the exception of classical regulation, which carries out the reflex arc are autonomic reflexes, which do not have effektorov in the Central nervous system. Reflex in this case is implemented by stimulation of receptors and affection that regulate motor reflexes.

    At the level of the autonomic nervous system regulation: bronchi (the extension with the slowing of breathing); blood pressure (lowering); the vessels located in the skin (the extension) of the heart (weakening and slowing down); abdominal vessels (vasodilatation leading to enhanced digestion); skeletal muscle (relaxation); urine formation (strengthening); the pupils of the eyes (narrowing); and sweat glands of internal secretion (slow); neurons in the brain (inhibition).

    Thus, the autonomic nervous system complements the functions of the spinal cord, as a kind of antithesis of the tone of the organs and blood vessels.

    Injuries of the spine and their consequences

    Nerve fibers extending from the spinal cord, regulate the activities of organs located below this area. For this reason, damage in the spine can manifest in pain in the muscles and internal organs, which subjectively are not associated with the damaged part of the spine. For this reason, low back pain as one of the options injuries of the spine figuratively called a monkey all diseases because he seems to be mimicking other diseases. Pain arising from the degenerative disc disease may be mistaken for the symptoms of gastritis, diseases of liver, kidneys, heart, etc.

    Вегетативные рефлексы спинного мозга и остеохондрозIn certain injuries of the spinal cord weakens the braking effect of the cerebral cortex, which leads to permanent muscle hypertonicity and eventually paralysis. Half damage generates syndrome brown-Secker, wherein below the lesion manifested by paralysis on the side opposite the damaged parts. Full cross-section of the spinal cord produces loss of muscular and articular sensitivity, including pain and temperature, loss of some functions of the innervated organs, including the control of urination and defecation. Partial lesions of the spinal cord can lead to muscle paralysis and muscle atrophy.

    This eliminates reflexes, which provided the reflex arc is the corresponding segment of the spinal cord. For example, can disappear vascular reflexes at the level of the skin, partially or completely eliminates the function of sweating, trophic ulcers appear on the skin and nails.

    Low back pain and its symptoms

    Low back pain generated by the abnormal transformation of cartilage of the intervertebral discs, are not classified as direct damage to the spinal cord, but it leads to reflex disorders of regulation of the activities of the organs, especially the muscular-nervous regulation.

    Low back pain is classified according to the location of pathological processes in different parts of the spine. The most common are degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and cervical spine.

    Вегетативные рефлексы спинного мозга и остеохондроз

    Healthy and diseased spine of the patient

    Common problems of the cervical spine associated with his particular mobility and the fact that the salt deposits here, even on a small scale much impact on mobility and on the provision of the reflex functions of the cervical spinal cord. Distinguish the following stages in the development of cervical degenerative disc disease:

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  • Early disorders of the intervertebral discs. Discomfort occurs mainly at the level of weak muscle pain and muscle tension.
  • The intervertebral slit decreases, the annulus is destroyed. Appears muscle-pain due to pinched nerve endings.
  • The destruction of the fiber ring. The consequence of this is the emergence of herniated discs and severe deformity of the spine.
  • Strong pain with any movement. This is accompanied by significant limitations of mobility and cramps in the muscular system. Because the neck region is concentrated a large number of blood vessels that provides circulation of the brain, cervical osteochondrosis provokes the emergence of problems in the activities of the entire Central nervous system.
  • Changes in the intervertebral discs affect the condition of the muscular system not only neck, but the thorax, the extremities, especially the upper. Muscular pain can affect even the facial muscles and providing General muscle tone of the head. Projection of pain in the lower sections of the trunk leads to the fact that a person has symptoms of angina called cardiac syndrome. The characteristic features of this syndrome are pain while coughing, sneezing, turning the head. Appear premature beats and tachycardia, but the signs of circulatory disturbances in ECG is not detected.

    Cervical osteochondrosis is the most vivid illustration of the statements about the «monkey» character of this disease. It mimics not only angina, but also diseases of the liver, stomach, can mimic the intercostal neuralgia.

    The development of cervical degenerative disc disease leads to severe muscle tone of the limbs and muscles of the upper back, limiting overall mobility, impaired vision, hearing, memory, sleep disorders.

    The lumbar spine carries a large load, which consists of the pressure of the entire body with the lower parts of the muscle and the load supported by body movement and weight lifting. Stage pain syndromes similar to those from cervical degenerative disc disease. The impact of this disease particularly affect the lower divisions of the body.

    This increased muscle tone of the lower extremities, reduced mobility in the lower back, insomnia, unstable emotions, fatigue, problems sweating, syndrome of cold feet, problems in the implementation of sexual function, varicose veins.