Primitive reflexes

What are primitive reflexes?

Simply put: something happens that is followed by an automatic reaction from the body.

On a more challenging level: there is an external stimulus on which the brain stem stimulates the central nervous system to make a pre-programmed response.

Primitive reflexes are the first part of the brain to develop and should remain active only for the first few months of life. In normal development, these reflexes naturally become inhibited in the first year and are replaced by “postural reflexes.” Postural reflexes are more mature response patterns that drive balance, coordination, and sensory motor development.  Primitive reflexes are movements that a baby makes instinctively. These movements cause the central nervous system to develop.

In some children, this does not happen completely. The central nervous system is not yet mature; the motor skills can not fully develop. The children can suffer a lot from these uninhibited primary reflexes.

Transition to postural reflexes

Most primary/primitive reflexes are integrated into the baby’s first year of life. Postural reflexes remain active throughout life.  As soon as the baby starts to grow, it starts to move more. By practicing all kinds of movements, the child gets more and more control over the body. After sufficient practice, a reflex is no longer necessary and is integrated into the system.

The postural reflexes, which are controlled by the higher parts of the brain, take over.
This development is essential and gives access to more complex skills such as learning, control over movement and social interaction.

What symptoms may be present in your child if the primitive reflexes are not integrated?

  • Not being able to sit still or be hyperactive
  • Sitting on one or two legs, or in a 'W' seat
  • Slow or difficult reading
  • Poor handwriting or poor pen grip
  • Cannot hold head up when sitting
  • 'Hanging' in the chair, unable to sit up straight
  • Startle reactions/ over stimulated easily
  • Sensitive to light and sound
  • Bedwetting (in child from 4 years)
  • schrikreacties
  • Poor coordination (especially during ball games, swimming, cycling, running)
  • Balance problems
  • Doesn't like changes
  • Motion sickness
  • Throat, nose and ear problems
  • Toe walking
  • Suffer from allergies, lower immunity
  • Irritated by labels on clothing

Why are primitive reflexes so important?

Why are primitive reflexes so important?

What is the reason that these are still present in your child?
The preservation of primitive reflexes can be caused by various factors.
The birth process is a key factor in the integration of these reflexes. Therefore, a traumatic birth experience by cesarean section can lead to retained reflexes. Additional causes can include falls, traumas, lack of tummy-time, delayed or skipped crawling phase, chronic ear infections, head trauma, nervous system disorders and also exposure to physical, chemical or emotional stress during their life can play a role.

Why is it so important that these primitive reflexes disappear?

The inhibition of primitive reflexes can lead to developmental delay related to conditions such as ADHD, ADD, sensory processing disorder, autism, and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.  The persistence of primitive reflexes causes disturbances in things like coordination, balance, sensory perceptions, fine motor skills, sleep, immunity, energy level, impulse control, concentration, and all levels of social, emotional, and intellectual learning.

How early can I recognise a primitive reflex in my child?

Milestones are an important window into the development of your child and his developing brain. Your baby should roll between 4 and 6 months, start crawling around 8-10 months and walking between 11 and 13 months. If your child has delayed or skipped one of these milestones, it is possible that the child has retained primitive reflexes or a lack of proper tone (hypotonia) in his body.

What can the chiropractor do?

The chiropractor conducts examinations, from which follows a treatment plan with exercises for the home. The exercises ensure that the reflexes are integrated into the system and new motor patterns have the opportunity to develop. Often you see rapid progress in the children who follow the trajectory. The great thing is that the exercises are temporary, but the progress is permanent.

Chiropractic in children

In an initial consultation, we go through the history of your child, the pregnancy and childbirth story. Issues such as work posture at school, sports, homework posture at home, gaming and test / exam stress are also discussed. We investigate whether the above points relate to the growth and development of your child and where the complaint comes from. The chiropractor uses different methods for this.

Often tension and poor mobility is the cause of the complaints. We can treat this well with chiropractic. With a personal treatment plan, we help your child get rid of his or her problems as quickly as possible. Our treatments are very gentle and safe!

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