NMM/OMTReview Article

Stretch Receptor and Somatic Dysfunction: A Narrative Review

Mark A.W. Andrews, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: November 2, 2018

Accepted: January 8, 2019

Published: August 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(8): 511-519

From its founding by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, through the work of many contributors, one of the cornerstones of osteopathic medicine has been its ability to aid health by promoting neuromuscular homeostasis. As part of the understanding of osteopathic medicine since the time of Still, the proper functioning of stretch receptor organs (SROs) of skeletal muscle have been recognized as having a central role in this homeostasis. In doing so, the complexities of these numerous and vital sensors are described, including recent findings regarding their structure, function, and the nature of their neural connections. In their homeostatic role, SROs conduct information centrally for integration in proprioceptive and autonomic reflexes. By virtue of their integral role in muscle reflexes, they are putatively involved in somatic dysfunction and segmental facilitation. In reviewing some well-established knowledge regarding the SRO and introducing more recent scientific findings, an attempt is made to offer insights on how this knowledge may be applied to better understand somatic dysfunction.

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