Primitive (infantile) reflexes are reflexive actions from the central nervous system that are seen in normal infants. These reflexes help the infant survive innately and set the stage for development of the nervous system. Primitive reflexes vary from assisting in the birthing process to sucking and swallowing to holding onto their mother. Each reflex has its own distinct timing and duration. As the child grows, these reflexes are suppressed with the development of the brain’s frontal lobe.
Pediatric chiropractors test primitive reflexes to evaluate the brainstem and spinal cord functioning. If a reflex is not present, it may indicate that the nervous system is not functioning well or not developing properly. In contrast, sometimes these primitive reflexes are retained due to some sort of stress or trauma. It’s important that these reflexes are integrated in the brain to prevent further development issues.
Here are some signs your child may have lingering primitive reflex(es):
– Movement difficulties
– Learning challenges
– Sensory issues
– Poor speech development
– Bladder control problems
In an older child or adults, retained reflexes may exhibit as toe walking, W-sitting, or poor balance and coordination. It’s a lot more common than you think!