Postural orientation, equilibrium, and the spinal cord

Adv Neurol. 1997:72:227-32.


In summary, adequate control of postural orientation and equilibrium is a prerequisite for virtually all skilled motor acts, even those apparently simple tasks of standing and walking. In the cat, certain aspects of postural orientation appear to be organized at the spinal level. In contrast, postural equilibrium is not achieved by spinal circuits in isolation, but seems to require input from higher centers. The challenge is to identify those higher centers and the means by which they produce appropriate postural reactions for maintaining balance. If, indeed, postural equilibrium is a function of descending systems, then in the future, the amount of recovery of postural equilibrium after injury and/or treatment could provide a quantitative measure of the degree of sparing and/or re-establishment of functional connections between higher centers and the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*