Movement is Life.
The quote above reminds me of my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Ritter, who I credit for providing me a thirst for understanding the true causes of life and my love for science. He would always say “Everybody FREEZE!!!” and when we all stopped moving he would say “LIARS!!! You are all… hurtling through space at breakneck speeds.”
It’s a truly humbling thought to understand that at the macro and microscopic level, life is in constant motion. The whole of the universe is in constant motion and down to the smallest known particles/non-particles of energy the same, constant motion.
Continuous change is a constant we must all navigate.
In our most recent New Patient Orientation, we talked a lot about primitive reflexes as we always do. These are the reflexes that are programmed into baby in utero beginning at about 8 weeks and going all the way through roughly the 28th week of pregnancy. These reflexes are programmed so that babies can come into the world with a reflexive form of neurology.
Essentially, with these reflexes, babies should sleep, poop, eat, and fully function perfectly. Their nervous systems reflexively controls each organ, gland, tissue and cell because baby hasn’t learned how to consciously do anything yet 🙂
These are hardwired programmings just like rolling over, creeping, crawling, sitting, squatting, walking, running, etc.
Have you ever noticed that we don’t have to teach babies how to roll over, walk or move really at all? Have you ever wondered why?
Primitive reflexes are programmed into baby’s neurodevelopment and their role is to prepare baby for to live in our world. Each reflex has a specific role in building baby’s foundational neurology that not only coordinates movement but essentially all brainstem function.
Movement, however, is very primary. It is often the language that we use to interpret and assess our patients’ neurological function.
For example, if baby can only turn her head one way this is a condition called torticollis.
If this gets bad enough, one side of baby’s head may begin to flatten. This type of cranial asymmetry is called plagiocephaly.
Although both of these diagnoses are very common, they are not in any way normal and getting to the root cause of what’s going on is absolutely essential. As an aside, helmets although at times helpful cosmetically, they cannot get to the root cause.
You can literally change the shape of the skull into whatever you want to. Like this Buddha-shaped pear!
But getting to the root cause of any condition is really the key…
Is there a lack of range of motion because of a simple tight muscle?
Is there a primitive reflex (specifically Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex -ATNR) that cannot engage efficiently thereby limiting baby’s ability to turn its head normally?
Is this reflex not working as a result of trauma during delivery or was it potentially earlier in pregnancy?
Are there vertebral or cranial subluxation patterns that are interfering with the normal function of the Spinal Accessory nerve thereby inhibiting baby’s symmetrical movement?
The reason this is so important is if this little one cannot move and coordinate symmetrically and efficiently on both sides, babies relationship with gravity will be asymmetric and future milestones will potentially be asymmetric and inefficient as well. Baby may not be able to nurse on both sides and this can create asymmetric neurodevelopment.
Do you know a little one who skipped a milestone completely? This is growing more and more common but most parents are unaware these milestones are absolutely essential for babies to perfect. Missing a milestone is like missing some of the layers in the foundation of your house. With at least 1 in 6 of our kiddos today suffering from a learning disorder, we find our infant exam to be one of the most important exam metrics in preventing these challenges.
Your kiddos functional neurological health can be analyzed and optimized – the sooner the better. Those of you who are already patients in our clinic know there is no more important day that those we do our exams/reexaminations.
We want to track the health of our patients nervous systems early and often.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
This is the point of it all right?
This Easter weekend, we were blessed to spend time with my our family and friends up in north county. I was sitting back watch as many of the kids were climbing a big loquat tree in my brother’s backyard. Now I’ve been watching the kiddos climb this tree for years.
My nephew Kai, now 6 years old, has been in this tree since he was two. The thing about it is, no one taught him how to climb.
I was making sure that a couple of the younger kiddos (some as young as two) were climbing safe and it was shocking to watch them all navigate the tree with almost perfect cross crawl patterning. Kids who attuned to their bodies and mobility are kids who thrive in school, activities and at home.
Ahem, the same goes for adults too.
1) Visit Mesa Rim Climbing Gym and boulder for an hour or so. In my opinion, there are few better exercises for your spine and brain. If you need a guest pass, give me a holler.
2) Move your bodies people. Do your Functional Progressions and your Squat Series. Teach them to your kids!
3) Play often. See the world through the lens of awe and wonder.