Unlike most hammers, the reflex hammer is not meant for use in a building project. Instead, this type of hammer is a medical device. Here is some information on the different type of hammers used in medical testing and how they are used to check on the central and peripheral nervous system.
There are actually several types of hammers that have been developed to measure reflexive responses. The Tomahawk hammer has been around since the latter 19th century and is perhaps the most commonly used hammer to test reflexes, at least in North America. This type of hammer has a rubber head shaped like a triangle, with a flat metal handle.
The Queen Square reflex hammer was designed in the United Kingdom, specifically for testing on persons with known nervous disorders. This type of hammer comes with a cane or bamboo handle and is constructed to resemble a metal disk that has a rubber bumper attached to it. There is often a tapered edge that is understood to be ideal for testing plantar reflexes. This type of hammer is very popular among physicians in the United Kingdom.
The Babinski hammer was designed in the early 20th century and has a lot of physical attributes in common with the Queen Square hammer. One important difference is that usually has a detachable hammer, and may also have a telescoping handle, which makes it easy to carry along from one location to another.
Using a reflex hammer to test reflexes helps to gauge the possibility of developing health issues with the nervous system. There is a range of response that is considered to be within normal boundaries. Any type of reflex action that results from the use of the hammer that is either less than or more than this range can indicate the presence of one type of disorder or another. In order to use the hammer, the physician will swing the device at a tendon, using an arching angle, making a light contact. At that point, the doctor will make note of the type of reflexive response that is made and chart the activity. In the event that the first swing indicates some sort of possible health problem, a second swing will be conducted, to see if the results are the same.