I was looking into a condition I have, anterior pelvic tilt, quite a bit. I ran into a website describing part of the issue as reciprocal inhibition. This was my confusion:

Reciprocal inhibition, defined by just about everyone, is the relaxation of muscles antagonistic to muscles currently contracting, and vice versa. How is this different from regular muscular flex? When we flex a muscle, don't the antagonistic muscles relax to compensate, same as in reciprocal inhibition? Thanks.


1 Answer 1


What is the difference between reciprocal inhibition and regular muscle movement?

Reciprocal inhibition is part of regular muscle movement. It is controlled by the stretch reflex controlled by the muscle spindle. It's an important part of a functioning muscle and spinal cord, and not pathologic at all. However, this same reflex, in an excessively tight muscle on one end of a joint, would cause an excessively loose muscle on another end of a joint.

Here is an image showing this reflex, from Brust Practice of Neural Science, Chapter 6. enter image description here

I can't give you any medical advice on this site, so I can't put that in context, but I think that answers your biology question.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks! I just had the thought that the process is in fact pathologic because it was described in correlation with anterior pelvic tilt. Thanks for clearing it up. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan D.
    Jul 12, 2018 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @EthanD. Glad to help! If this cleared up your question, you should mark it as the answer by clicking on the gray checkmark. See someone answers $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Jul 12, 2018 at 4:35

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