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Old 05-31-2009, 01:55 AM   #1
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what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

 
Old 05-31-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Re: what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

A reflex is an automatic response to a stimulus. For example, the lower leg jerks when the tendon below the kneecap is gently tapped with a small rubber hammer. The pathway that a reflex follows (reflex arc) does not directly involve the brain. The pathway consists of the sensory nerve to the spinal cord, the nerve connections in the spinal cord, and the motor nerves back to the muscle. Doctors test reflexes to determine whether all parts of this pathway are functioning. (This explanation is taken from the Merk manual. I hope it is O.K. to give credit and name the book.)

There are some things besides just the reflex arc pathway itself that determine how well a reflex works. One that I particularly know about is the thyroid hormone concentration, ie. hypothyroidism causes the reflexes to be slow.

When I went to the neurosurgeon for an evaluation he checked my reflexes and I didn't have any reflex in my left elbow any time he checked it. He'd go from my left to my right and then back again. It ended up being a pinched nerve at C5-C6 area. I had ACDF surgery seven weeks ago and as soon as I woke from surgery my pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle spasms were all gone (aside from my throat.) When I went for my four week check-up, the reflex at the elbow was back!

Your question uses the word reflexes. Would you be willing to be more specific? There are several who read/write on this board who can enlighten you even more.

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Old 06-03-2009, 06:27 AM   #3
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Re: what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

Five years ago during a physical exam, I didn't have a reflex on my right leg. I was also having some hip pain. After an MRI was performed, they discovered a tumor on my psoas muscle close to the spine and entangled in nerves. I had surgery and they were able to remove most of the tumor. I still have MRIs every year to monitor the remaining tumor's growth. And my reflex in my right leg is still very weak.

I'm certainly not suggesting that you have a tumor. However, I did learn that limited reflex does suggest there may be a problem.

 
Old 06-03-2009, 07:08 AM   #4
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Re: what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

nwill - just wondering, is your leg weak, or do you have normal strength and usage from it?

I wonder how long it takes from the time a nerve is injured to lose the reflex?

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Old 06-03-2009, 07:21 AM   #5
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Re: what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

My surgery was pretty extensive and I had physical therapy for six months to learn to walk again as I had a lot of nerve damage from the tumor removal.

My right leg is not full strength and I have a lot of leg cramps. But I walk and exercise extensively to keep my leg functioning.

Just had my MRI yesterday to monitor the tumor that remains...hope to hear the results soon.

 
Old 06-03-2009, 08:18 AM   #6
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Re: what does it mean when your reflexes do not work

nwill - I am continually amazed and disheartened by the number of people who have such profound and debilitating issues (disease/disorders/whatever you want to call the causes!) Even more incredulous, however, is the character and spirit of the veterans that post on this board. I didn't pay attention to how long you have been posting on these boards, but I'd include you in that category! I admire your obvious determination to be an over-comer.

All of my life I have immersed myself in science and developed a love for the field of medicine. At one point I had decided to try to go to medical school, but ended up meeting my husband, getting married and having children. I still work in a hospital and teach students about laboratory testing. However, I didn't end up getting to med school. I must admit that seeing all of these posts and getting to know some of the people on this board has resulted in a vague, but oh so real, wish that I had the ability to "fix" them!
But then I have to remind myself that I can never be God and neither can any of the other people who have dedicated themselves to helping others. So that gives us the opportunity to encourage each other and I have seen lots of that here on the boards.

I hope that you hear reassuring news from your MRI! Working in a laboratory where results are usually available in just a few minutes causes me to have to work on patience for results from tests like an MRI so I understand the
emotions behind the "waiting for results."

Keep up the great work!
SP
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