By Dr. Ryan Kiser

What’s up Future Generations family?!  

Dr Ryan here again, on what is now my third blog ever written.  I didn’t know I was going to become a blogger while working here.  

Today, we are going to be talking about movement deficiency, developmental delays, and primitive reflexes in kids.  This is exciting for me because it is new for me.  Everything I’ve learned thus far on the subject has come from the brain of Dr Stan.  I mean, I know lack of movement is bad in every aspect, but the other stuff is fairly new to me.  It’s quite easy to go down a rabbit hole on any one of these subjects, so I’m going to try and keep this as succinct as possible.  

Here we go…

It should come as no surprise that movement is necessary for life.  We are made to move, and when we don’t, bad things happen.  I always tell patients “it’s not all car accidents and sports injuries any more.  It is posture and/or lack of movement.”  We don’t move enough as a species.  

I bet you know someone who wakes up to sit in their car on the way to work for an hour, sits for 8 hours at work, another hour in the car back home, and finishes the day by sitting on the couch for a few hours.  Literally no movement.  This isn’t about us though.  This is about kids.

I recently took a developmental neurobiology seminar.  I’ll summarize it here for you:  move more.  Every single delay he spoke of in children was due to a lack of movement.

Every.  One.  

Milestones all parents are familiar with are rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.  Parents are commonly in a rush to get to these milestones because they don’t want their kids to be delayed.  Babies will move through these milestones when THEY are ready.  I alway remind patients that “normal is a collection of averages.”  Some children may do things late, while others do them early.  The teacher of the course I mentioned a second ago has a simple test to check a child that he does in his office.  

If a child has a head tilt, cannot hold their head, or cannot pull to sit by 6 months, they are delayed.  There are a wide variety of things that could be causing these delays.  The biggest hindrances to your child learning to move their body in their innate way, is by placing them in any device that restricts them from moving or that puts them in a position they can’t get into on their own yet.  I recommend you read that blog post by one of our rockstar patients for a deeper dive.  

Other reasons that children might be hindered relate back to what we are always talking about in the office:  “the four Ts.”

  • Traumas – Physical
  • Toxins – Chemical
  • Thoughts – Mental/Emotional
  • Technology

Babies develop a set of primitive reflexes in utero that help them sleep, poop, eat (aka FUNCTION) in their new environment and to their changing needs.  “They are automatic, stereotyped movements, directed from the brain stem and executed without cortical involvement.”  This means they happen without the baby knowing they are happening.  

There are 10 primitive reflexes in all, and all of them have their own unique purpose.  IF these reflexes remain present beyond 6-12 months of life, they are said to be aberrant, and they are evidence of a structural weakness or immaturity within the central nervous system.  Prolonged activity of these may also prevent the development of the succeeding postural reflexes.  Reflexes retained beyond 6 months may result in immature patterns of behavior, or may cause immature systems to remain prevalent.  

What’s the oldest age of someone Dr Stan has seen these active in? 

 An adult.  

They don’t always disappear.  I bet if we sat that individual’s parents down, they would be able to tell us how that child had some sort of delay.  

In practice at Future Generations, we regularly see teenagers that still have their primitive reflexes intact.  There are a multitude of issues that can happen if any of the reflexes remain past 12 months, and they vary by each reflex.  One that I found interesting is what can happen when the palmar reflex sticks around.  A retained palmar reflex can lead to speech difficulties.  I find this interesting because they do not seem like they would go hand in hand (no pun intended).  I also found it interesting when Dr Hall mentioned in that seminar I keep bringing up, that one of the best things to do with a child who has a speech delay is to play catch with them.  Playing catch increases their hand eye coordination and activates the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls speech.  

Wild right?  I thought so. 

Why is this all so important to us at Future Generations? 

Because we want our children who are patients to be able to explore and engage in their world NORMALLY.

This is a word we never bend on. 

Normal is healthy, vibrant and fully connected. 

We want them to move, grow, and learn without delay.  

Most don’t know the primary nutrition to the brain is movement.  90% of that neurology comes from the spine, most of which happens at the upper cervical spine.  Who checks the upper cervical spine?  

We do.

So naturally, screening for the primitive reflexes is one of the many things we do during a pediatric exam.  On top of that, we get an overall idea of their structure, if they’re old enough, and the functionality of their nervous system through our scanning process. But we also get a very clear picture of WHY, the root cause, of why these primitive reflexes are their to begin with.

To be very clear, subluxation patterns are a root cause of these primitive reflex patterns. 

After our meticulous examination, they are placed on a specific neurostructural correction program that includes chiropractic adjustments, foundational exercises, and supplement recommendations.  

Allowing the nervous system to perform how it was meant to, without interference, allows our pediatric patients to grow, learn, and develop as nature intended them to.  If your child hasn’t been to our office yet, or you know someone who might need our help, please send them our way!