These reflexes can remain dominant if they are not integrated by the developing brain. This can prevent your child from reaching their milestones and disrupt normal social, behavioural and motor development. The most common cause for primitive reflexes to be retained is trauma at birth (forceps, suction, C-section, induction) or any physical, chemical or mental stresses which children experience in their early years.

Signs & Symptoms of retained Primitive Reflexes
– Lack of concentration, distractibility
– Hyperactivity and increased sensitivity
– Difficulty sitting still
– Anxiety, withdrawn, shyness
– Poor co-ordination, messy handwriting
– Motion sickness
– Speech articulation problems
– Poor bladder control/bed wetting

How can Chiropractic help?
As chiropractors we work on restoring proper function of the nervous system. Sensory input from the nerves in the joints of the body and spine fuels the brain. Any spinal dysfunctions or joint restrictions affect the body’s ability to relay information to the brain via the nerves. By normalising joint movement through specific chiropractic adjustments you can increase the firing of the nervous system allowing the body to function at its best.

While chiropractic adjustments can help to rewire the brain and integrate retained reflexes, home-based exercises and some nutritional changes are essential to reinforce these new nerve pathways to ensure the reflex remains integrated.

Primitive Reflexes

This reflex develops after conception and should integrate while in the womb. If retained, children may show signs of withdrawal, resistance to change and fear of new circumstances. This may be characterised by
• shyness, anxiety, tantrums, difficulty sleeping, stressed, hypersensitivities or poor adaptability.

Commonly known as the ‘Startle reflex’ this is the baby’s protective reflex. Fully developed at birth this reflex should integrate between 3-6months. It is set off by loud noises, sudden dropping / tilting movements, or bright lights. Its activation stimulates the adrenal system, thus when retained creates a constant state of fight or flight, increasing adrenal demand eventually leading to adrenal fatigue causing allergies, asthma and chronic illness. Retained Moro may lead to;
• Hypersensitivity, the child may be labelled ADHD or ADD
• Lack of concentration and social difficulties
• Over-reaction, anxious
• Allergies and chronic sickness; recurrent colds/ear infections

Active from birth this reflex is associated with coordinated neck, arm and head movement, as well as hand eye coordination. At around 6months this reflex should integrate, but when retained can cause issues with;
• Difficulty crawling
• Poor hand eye coordination
• Reading/writing problems as the visual field struggles to cross the midline
• Missing lines or skipping words when reading
• Can cause chronic shoulder problems if retained into adulthood

TLR involves the vestibular system and the inner ear, creating balance and spatial awareness. A retained TLR typically causes;
• Floppy child, balance issues, motion sickness, poor spatial awareness, difficulty judging space, depth, and height.

This reflex is activated during the development into crawling. If this is not integrated by the nervous system, the child may experience;
• Bum shuffling, “W” sitting, ape-like walking patterns
• Babies may skip crawling and go straight to walking
• Poor posture and muscle tone

This reflex is essential for movement down the birth canal, but if not integrated by 3-4months can cause problems with prolonged bed-wetting, poor posture and gait and often cannot sit still “wriggle pots”.

Grasping reflex, which should integrate around 6months. When retained can cause problems with fine motor control – handwriting, holding a knife and fork.

This reflex is essential for the feeding process, it allows a baby to find the breast and suck. If this reflex remains dominant, problems may arise with chewing, eating, resistant to textured foods and speech articulation issues.

If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment at Neurohealth Chiropractic – please call the clinic on 9905 9099 or email us or fill in the contact form from our website

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