What do poor handwriting, lower back pain, and poor posture have in common?

It sounds like the start of a terrible joke, doesn’t it. But they’re all potential outcomes from a retained Palmar Reflex.

What’s this? The Palmar what?

The Palmar Reflex is essential for developing fine motor skills; enhancing the ability to recognise an object only by feel and sensory input.

As a baby we have an active Palmar Reflex.  When the palm of the hand is stroked, the fingers (excluding the thumb) flex toward the palm in an attempt to clasp whatever object may be the cause of stimulation.

This can be seen when you place your finger in a baby’s hand and they instinctively grip your finger.

In children, when the Palmar Reflex doesn’t inhibit, they can often have poor handwriting. More importantly, they may have difficulty processing their ideas and writing them down. This can mean copying words is be easy but the task of spelling words is more difficult and messy. Written stories may also lack the detail that your child would use if they were telling the story verbally.

Another sign of an uninhibited Palmar Reflex is that your child may slump when playing computer games, playing an instrument, or when performing any fine motor task such as playing with play-dough or making models as well as when writing.  

A retained Palmar Reflex can have lasting adverse effects into adulthood, impacting your fine muscle co-ordination, speech and articulation. Also, in adults, your back may hurt when sitting at a computer. This is because typing relies on independent finger movement (just like playing an instrument) and in a person with a retained Palmar Reflex, core muscles which support the spine may weaken during these tasks, creating bad posture.

A retained Palmar Reflex in adults can manifest as lower back pain, bladder weakness, or tiredness when working.

How to Test for the Palmar Reflex at Home

It’s easy to check if you have a Palmar Reflex that hasn’t been inhibited.

  • Hold your hand palm up and, with your opposite hand, lightly stroke across the palm from between the thumb and index finger to the opposite side of the palm.
  • If your fingers move or curl, or your wrists or elbows move, then it’s likely you have this reflex retained – and kinesiology can help to inhibit it.

What to do about it

A Kinesiology balance can identify and rectify retained primitive reflexes, including the Palmar Reflex. If you think you, your child, or an adult in your life may have a retained Palmar Reflex, give us a call or book an appointment so we can test and balance the primitive and postural reflexes.

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