Did you know that there can be invisible enemies hiding in the brains and bodies of many of our children, friends, family members and patients?
These enemies were once our biggest protectors : the primitive reflex patterns that taught us to be aware of danger, make changes to adapt to the environment and reach for things that we needed to survive. During normal development, these "friends" were supposed to allow us to grow up and not need them anymore as the protective reflex patterns converted to the postural reflexes of normal everyday living.
As we grow and evolve, these old primitive friends can reactivate when we sense that we are in danger or have trauma. They not only come for a visit, but they often decide to stay.......a really.........long........time........
The process of a reflex that was supposed to "go away" (integrate) being reactivated and "sticking around" (becoming retained) is referred to as a Retained Primitive Reflex. These old friends had good intentions at one time, but they tend to overstay their welcome in the presence of perceived danger or restriction.
For example, if you were being help against your will, would you want someone to come and rescue you? Of course you would, but what if they wouldn't leave your side from that point on? It might get old.
That's when these old friends become terrorists that cannot be negotiated with.
The good news is that we can recreate the movements that helped to convert these primitive reflexes to postural reflexes and create an environment of safety, playfulness and intention reminiscent of the natural developmental process that naturally integrates the reflex.
...and that's when simple solutions can be applied to solve complex problems!
When a patient has the background noise of a retained primitive reflex running in the background of neurologic function, it "plays its music" over everything else that is going on and no one knows how to turn it off.
It can be confusing, overwhelming and exhausting for the person experiencing a retained primitive reflex. It is often misdiagnosed as:
Attention Deficit Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorders
Sleep Disordered Breathing/Sleep Apnea
Tongue Tied or restricted
and many others.
People with the FPR active may often be very anxious and tend to veer towards negativity which can prevent them from easily moving forward to living a meaningful, interactive life. An active FPR often goes hand-in-hand with an un-integrated Moro reflex.
People with this retained reflex will freeze in stressful situations (among other things). You can recognize it in someone if their eyelids involuntarily flutter when their eyes are closed.
A retained Moro (startle) reflex can often be "jumpy", easily startled and have very tight muscles and fascia throughout the body.
Yes, this includes the tongue.
This tightness presents as a functional restriction that will not resolve with any form of therapy...except for integration of this reflex through easy, natural movements practiced by the patient throughout the day.
A retained Palmar reflex contributes to speech, poor handwriting and more. An inappropriate reflex pattern might result in excess facial tension.
This directly affects the facial neuromusculature.
Can contribute to torticollis, scoliosis, fidgeting, sleep fragmentation and bedwetting.
This might impact the oral environment through the tightening of the fascia throughout the body, neck, face and tongue, asymmetries in craniofacial growth and impact growth and development through the negative effects of impaired sleep quality.
Contributes to hyperactivity, low muscle tone poor motor coordination and learning disabilities.
Low muscle tone might affect tongue function.
Contributes to hand control, memory speech and more.
Highly linked to oral (and tongue) function.