The somatic nervous system is one of the components or divisions of the complex human nervous system. This system is capable of both transmitting information to the brain and conducting the orders it issues to the rest of the body. Without this system, people would not be able to analyze environmental stimuli and emit adaptive responses or behaviors. If you want to learn more about him, keep reading this Psychology-Online article: Somatic nervous system: what it is and what it does.
- What is the somatic nervous system
- Somatic nervous system: function
- Somatic and autonomic nervous system: differences
- Somatic nervous system diseases
What is the somatic nervous system.
To understand what the somatic nervous system is, we must first know that the nervous system It is divided into two main parts:
- The Central Nervous System, made up of the brain and spinal cord.
- The peripheral nervous system, which contains those nerves that are not found in the central nervous system. The
Somatic nervous system: definition
What do we call the somatic nervous system? The somatic nervous system It is a part of the nervous system made up of different structures responsible for transmitting information.
This system is in charge of maintaining communication between sensory and motor information with the brain and spinal cord, that is, with the central nervous system.
Parts of the somatic nervous system
The somatic nervous system is formed by the set of neurons that connect both the skin, the muscles, and the sensory organs with the central nervous system. The somatic system is made up of two types of neurons:
- The sensory neurons: they are related to the senses and perception.
- The motor neurons: are related to movement.
The meaning of the information transmission is bidirectional, since sensory neurons are afferent and carry nerve impulses to the central nervous system, while that motor neurons are efferent and conduct these impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles skeletal.
Somatic nervous system: function.
What is the function of the somatic nervous system? What is the somatic nervous system in charge of? The process of functioning of the somatic nervous system begins, normally, by the transmission of the Sensory information captured by sensory neurons to the central nervous system, where it is processed by the brain. Once interpreted by the central nervous system, it sends a series of signals or orders through motor neurons to skeletal organs and muscles. Based on this scheme, the somatic nervous system carries out a series of vitally important functions for the proper functioning of the body:
- The main function of the somatic nervous system is to communication and connection between the central nervous system and the organs, skin and muscles of the body.
- Pass on the information coming from the sensory receptors, conscious and unconscious, up to the central nervous system.
- Drive orders and decisions from the brain to skeletal muscles.
- This system allows both the interpretation of stimuli, by sensory neurons, and the production of responses based on the processing of this information through neurons motorcycles. Therefore, the somatic nervous system enables relationship and adaptation to the environment.
- Thanks to the sensory neurons of the somatic nervous system, the brain can capture smells, tastes, sounds, etc.
- Another function of this system is the nociception, that is, the transmission of information about pain and temperature to the brain, with the aim of activating responses on their part that favor survival.
- The voluntary movements and complex actions are regulated and controlled by this system, for example writing or running. This is possible by contracting the skeletal muscles.
- Likewise, involuntary movements or reflex actions are another of the functions of the somatic nervous system. These acts are carried out when nerve, sensory and motor pathways connect directly with the spinal cord.
- Another function of the somatic nervous system is the proprioception, the process by which the body is informed about the state or position of the musculature. This function allows balance and coordination, among others.
Somatic and autonomic nervous system: differences.
Both the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system are part of the so-called peripheral nervous system. Despite this, they are not the same. Below we expose the differences between somatic and autonomic nervous system:
- The somatic nervous system is responsible for the majority of voluntary movements and, to a lesser extent, also for reflex acts. Instead, the autonomic nervous system takes care of the involuntary functions, those that do not require conscious control, such as breathing and digestion.
- Another function of the somatic nervous system is sensory, the autonomic nervous system lacks it.
- The somatic nervous system is a two-way system, afferent and efferent, so information and nerve impulses flow in both directions between the central nervous system and the latter. However, in the autonomic nervous system the nerve impulses are transmitted from the brain and the spinal cord to this, it is therefore a efferent only system.
- The autonomic nervous system is functionally divided into two other systems, sympathetic and parasympathetic system, while the somatic nervous system is unitary.
- The somatic nervous system is made up of spinal and cranial nerves. The autonomic nervous system is made up of nerve roots, plexuses and trunks.
- The action of the somatic nervous system is always excitatory on skeletal muscles, but that of the autonomic nervous system can be excitatory or inhibitory.
Somatic nervous system diseases.
Here we list and explain some of the most common diseases or conditions of the somatic nervous system:
- Herniated disc: It occurs when a disc in the spinal column travels to the spinal nerves, pressing on it and causing pain, numbness and / or loss of sensation.
- Radial nerve palsy: Known as "dropped hand", it is a pathology that affects the nerve that controls the muscles that make it possible to extend the arm. This paralysis causes the inability to extend the wrist, so it remains hanging.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: pressure on the wrist nerve, causing numbness and loss of motion in the palm of the hand and fingers. This syndrome is associated with people who normally work with their hands performing repetitive movements
- Neuralgia: It is caused by nerve damage or irritation, causing an intense and intermittent sensation of pain and shock.
- Spinal stenosis: narrowing of the canal in the spinal cord that houses the nerves. This causes weakness, cramps, numbness, or numbness in the neck and back.
- Guillain Barre syndrome: a disorder in which the immune system itself mistakenly attacks the nerves. The first manifestations are tingling and weakness in the extremities, spreading rapidly and producing paralysis in the body, which subsides with treatment.
This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.
If you want to read more articles similar to Somatic nervous system: what it is and what it does, we recommend that you enter our category of Neuropsychology.
- Leira, M. S. (2012). Somatic nervous system and conduction pathways overview. Manual of biological bases of human behavior.
- Escobar, M. I., & Pimienta, H. J. (2003). Nervous system. University of the Valley.