Dictionary > Stretch reflex

Stretch reflex

Definition
noun
A reflex contraction of a muscle when the muscle proprioceptors (e.g. muscle spindles) are stimulated
Supplement
In physiology, a reflex is an immediate involuntary response or a reaction to a stimulus. The response is innate and need not to be learned and the body acts accordingly without first thinking about what to do. The human body has several reflexes and one of them is the stretch reflex.
The stretch reflex is a type of reflex wherein the muscle contracts caused by the stimulation of the muscle proprioceptors. When the muscle is stretched, the reflex reaction is to resist the stretching. This facilitates the maintenance of muscle length in constant. Thus, one of the important functions of this reflex reaction is to maintain erect and proper body posture. For example, this reflex occurs is when a person is standing in an upright position then begins to lean on one side. The postural muscles closely connected to the vertebral column on the side will stretch resulting in the muscle spindles causing those muscles to contract to correct posture.
Some of the stretch reflexes are jaw jerk reflex, biceps reflex, brachioradialis reflex, triceps reflex, patellar reflex, and ankle jerk reflex.
Synonyms:

  • myotatic reflex
  • Liddell-Sherrington reflex
  • muscular reflex
  • deep tendon reflex

See also:

  • reflex


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