tonic neck reflex (asymmetrical)

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This is a primitive reflex that is seen at intervals in babies in the first few months of life.

When in supine position the child lies with his head turned to one side with his ipsilateral arm extended to the same side. Often the contralateral knee is flexed. If the head is passively rotated then there may be increased tone of the upper limb on the side to which rotation occurs.

There is an increased reflex in severe cerebral palsy. The reflex may also persist in these patients.

Last reviewed 01/2018