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Chiropractic Care Extinguishes Primitive Reflexes


Primitive reflexes assist with survival through immediate responses to environmental stimuli.  When these reflexes do not morph into postural reflexes by six months to one year of age, then this demonstrates an immaturity of the central nervous system (CNS).

The current study involved eight case studies of patients from a chiropractic university clinic and/or private practice.  Every child in each case study had three things in common: 1) diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental issue prior to coming in for chiropractic care; 2) each child received chiropractic care; and 3) each child was given primitive reflex extinguishing exercises.

The first case study involved a 6-year-old male with an auditory processing disorder.  The student intern (3rd author) observed that the patient had retained multiple primitive reflexes.  Besides chiropractic adjustments, the patient was given cross crawl integration exercises and primitive reflex exercises.  After three months of care, the patient demonstrated signs of independence, significant improvements in coordination, and increased self-confidence. 

The second case involved an 11-year-old female with ADHD.  The patient exhibited several persistent primitive reflexes.  The student intern (2nd author) performed chiropractic adjustments on the patient and gave the patient primitive reflex exercises to do.  Once the patient began chiropractic care, her social interaction and emotional state improved.  Around visit #23, the patient’s parents reported that she was being selected to test for the honors program at her school.

The third case study involved a 13-month-old female with developmental delays in crawling and walking.  The student intern (5th author) observed that the patient retained primitive reflexes.  The patient’s mother was instructed on cross-crawl exercises and brushing exercises for her.  After four adjustments, she was crawling normally and had taken four unassisted steps.

 The fourth case study involved a 2-year-old male with Cerebral Palsy.   The patient was not able to walk or talk, still wearing diapers, and did not use his hands.  The student intern (4th author) observed that the patient had several primitive reflexes.  He received 31 adjustments over a seven-month period and his parents performed the reflex extinguishing exercises.  The patient reported the following improvements: he took things from his hand to his mouth, performed a modified commando crawl, made eye contact when he heard his name called, and started mumbling vocal sounds and said, “Hi.”

The fifth and sixth case studies involved two sisters, ages two and four, with anxiety and speech delays.  The youngest was always upset and disrupting the household, while the older sister had serious speech and communication delays that affected her socialization at pre-school and daycare. The sisters both had retained primitive reflexes and had diets with high amounts of diary.  The first author instructed the patient’s parents on brushing and remediation exercises and to eliminate all dairy products.  After receiving chiropractic care for eight months, the younger sister’s anxiety had been significantly reduced, enough for her to attend daycare, while the older sister no longer needed speech therapy and was admitted into a prestigious preschool program.

The seventh case study involved a 6-year-old girl who had reading issues and a history of multiple concussions.  The patient had a two-year history of blacking out, even with small traumas like falling backward on her bed.  She also had ATNR (asymmetrical tonic neck reflex) and eye tracking issues that has led to her moderate reading issues.  The first author gave the patient reflex and eye exercises.  After receiving chiropractic care for one year, she did not have any black outs and her reading skills had significantly improved.

The eighth and final case study involved a 7-year-old boy with ADHD.  The first author observed that the patient had a few primitive reflexes.  He was given remediation and brushing exercises.  After 30 adjustments over a 6-month period, the patient was no longer given negative comments on his report card, had all A’s, and his teachers no longer recommended Ritalin to his parents.  Overall, the combination of pediatric chiropractic care and extinguishing primitive reflexes may be beneficial to children with neurological issues. More research is warranted.

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MLA Citation: Rubin, Drew, Brown, Samantha, Landhi, Eric, Cooper, Shamyra, and Bermudez Hernandez, Thais.  “Combining Chiropractic Care with Extinguishing of Primitive Reflexes: A Case Series of 8 Children.”  Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health2016.2 (2016): 57-60.