Tonic Neck Reflex

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Primitive reflexes are innate, automatic motor patterns and reactions emerging during fetal life until after birth crucial for an infant's survival. These reflexes are being integrated and replaced gradually in term infants into higher-level righting, support, and protective postural reactions. This dynamic transition is part of the neuropsychomotor organization and development, physiological maturation, fine-tuning of the nervous system, which includes motor centers in the brainstem to the cerebral cortex - occurring in response to increasing environmental influences and demands. The involved reflex integration allows a change in the quality of movements, from clumsy to more natural, spontaneous, and efficient sensory processing, internal postural control, and acquired, goal-directed, precise, and well-coordinated voluntary motor skills and movements against gravity, which in effect, affect learning and behavior of a child in his later stages of life.

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