Learning with laughter

The LIGHT/DARK TEST-The second and third test of The P.A.N.E Process

March 14th, 2013

In my previous Blog I told a true story about Deidre’s balance being affected by Light and Dark surroundings.

This is an excert from Dr Beck’s article on The LIGHT/Dark test and other tests. (Earlier I talked about Dr John Beck’s article in September 2008 on “Practical Application of Neuropostural Evaluation”)

This is the screening test I performed on her to establish if central hierarchical control is in fact intact. It is in the perinatal period of infancy that one can witness the primitive levels of motor control in normal humans. At this time the baby is very basic in his approach to surroundings. His life is about wet /dry, fed/hungry etc. With normal development these primitive behaviours disappear and are replaced by motor reflexes characteristics of the more developed, complex higher levels of control. Testing any of the primitive environmental responses could serve to determine if hierachical control is intact.

The light/dark test is easy to do in an office. Patient’s arm and hand positions are the same as in the Wall test, then they are asked to look at light source, preferably daylight as their posture is tested. next they look at a dark, or black non reflective surface and posture test is repeated. If the patient collapses/becomes weaker when looking at the dark colour and not the light, the test is positive

The idea is simply: Turn on lights  and baby wakes up, turn off lights and hopefully baby goes to sleep. With maturation of the brain in the first 7 years of life, we normally lose the this sensitivity to darkness, replacing it with higher levels of control-as anyone with teenagers knows!

The last piece of this Light/Dark reflex that we retain as adults is the autonomic pupillary response to darkness. Other than that, whether it is light or dark out, should have no effect on our physical performance. Twenty five years ago Dr Beck noticed that when REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY patients looked at dark colours they became weaker as measured by neuropostural motor tests. Further experience has shown that “Dark Sensitivity” is an easy screening test to pick up hierarchical regression even before symptoms of dystrophy appear.

The First 3 tests in the P.A.N.E Process are the Wall Test , The Light & Dark Test. These are organized around Biological and Neurological Priorities and must be done in order:

1. Standard Postural observation

2. Gait observation

3. The Wall test – this is nice illustration of percent utilization of resources which we think is so important in physical fitness. Most people understand the expression “out of shape” and assume that all they need to do is exercise to get back in shape. They do not understand weaknes due to the Brain withholding strength for protective reasons. Central withholding is the primary mechanism of postural adaptation and is called “Inhibition” in physiological terms. Inhibition is why we display hand weakness when trying to squeeze a hot potato. Exercise won’t help the person with altered postural weakness because of this inhibition. In Fact the altered postural mechanism will lead to injury.

It is Dr Beck’s opinion that The WALL TEST should be done routinely on any one starting an exercise program to be safe

If this test is +ve continue neurological test: If -ve skip to orthopaedic exam

4. The Light/Dark Test: if +ve continue with PCSD Tests: if -ve skip to spine tests

5. The PSCD tests ( primitive tests)

6.The Spinal Scratch test (cervical and lumbar dermatomes)

7. The Dynamic Neural Tension tests (median, ulnar and radial nerves in the arms and abduction scratch test in legs)

8. Priority Postural Compensation Areas using Kinesiological tests (shoulders, allergy, GI, Hands feet: these areas are likely to cause Neuropostural Compensations)

9. Tests for Kinetic Chain (Core) Stability (Regional weakness, lumbar and cervical)

10. Kinesiological Joint specific exam

11. Orthopaedic exam

The First 3 steps in this algorithm are related to purely Neurological Functions, since these areas are the heart and soul of biological life.

Evolution has created both anatomic and functional hierarchies with the central nervous system. The functional hierarchy has to be intact for us to operate at our biological and menatl best. It is the first priority to check in chronic illness.

This is why I do the first 3 tests to see if the TM Joints and upper cervical areas are inflammed and could be the primary source of patients who are in chronic pain.




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