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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.

Reflex response

The skeletal muscles are under voluntary (conscious) control most of the time. However, skeletal muscle movement can also by induced by involuntary reflexes.

Reflexes are involuntary reactions to a stimulus such as the burning of the hand. As soon as a hot substance contacts the hand, pain receptors in the skin send a signal to the spinal cord. In turn, the spinal cord sends a signal back to the arm muscles that instruct the hand to pull away. The arm flexed as it withdrew, which is known as a flexor (withdrawal) reflex.

If the body did not have the reflexes to withdraw quickly from a painful stimulus, we would be at risk for serious injury.