graduated muscular contractions


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graduated muscular contractions

controlled shortening of muscle units in properly timed and adequate response to a stimulus. The contractions may be induced by the central nervous system or by electric stimulation. Contractile force can be controlled by varying the number of units that contract or by increasing the frequency of contractions.

graduated muscular contractions

1. The mechanism by which all smooth, coordinated muscle activity occurs. Normally controlled involuntarily by the central nervous system, motor units are recruited and stimulated at an intensity needed to accomplish a desired activity.
2. Contractions accomplished by use of electric current of varying strength and duration. This method is used in muscles with an intact nerve supply when muscles are atonic, wasted away, or when voluntary exercise is not feasible, and in denervated muscles, as in cases following nerve injury or poliomyelitis.
See also: contraction
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