Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I will call them "spasms" because that is the popular thing to do now. I know these things, though as primitive neurological reflexes. I remember being told in my MA program, "work right through them." They were something to be ignored. I am only saying my spasms were primitive reflexes. I can't say this about any others. "Primitive reflexes are automatic stereotypic movements directed from the brainstem and require no cortical involvement (thought)."  

I first noticed it years ago...I reached down with my left hand, with my head turned towards my hand. I went into spasm- my left arm got tight and my head was stuck there. It didn't last. I started saying words before I left that place. I asked the Occupational Therapist if it was ATNR (asymmetrical tonic neck reflex). She was surprised I knew such a thing, but she answered 'yes.'

ATNR eventually subsided on my left side. It has taken years. Now that I'm moving my right hand, it's starting on my right. There is one that involves my legs when lying down. Is it Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR)? I had to look this one up.

If the first subsided, I hope this will, too. It may be a sign that I am doing the right exercises and to keep on doing them.

The reflexes came back after my brain injury. "Reappearance may be attributed to certain neurological conditions including, but not limited to, dementia (especially in a rare set of diseases called frontotemporal degenerations), traumatic lesions, and strokes." I would expect the reappearance of primitive reflexes if neurogenesis occurred at a low level.

Exercising shouldn't be stopped if "spasms" occur. Think of them like a sneeze. You get a tissue. You don't stop what you are doing. So let the spasm happen and keep on exercising. The same muscles exercised are usually the ones to spasm. Work right through it. Those muscles may be getting used to being used. Likewise, spasms elsewhere may be the body getting used to using those muscles. My answer would be to exercise that area, also.

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