Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR)

Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

The Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex is present at birth then disappears until about 6 to 9 months. It reappears for a few months to assist in learning to crawl.

You will notice it in a baby if you move their chin down toward their chest. The knees will bend. If you move the head up toward the back, the legs will straighten. Do not confuse this with the Landau Reflex. They are two separate reflexes.

If this does not integrate and disappear by about 11 months, it can cause motor learning and behavior disorders. Simple exercises can solve the problem.

Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex Symptoms

  • Poor posture standing
  • Sits with slumpy posture
  • Low muscle tone
  • Ape-like walk
  • Problems with attention especially in stressful situations
  • Vision accommodation and tracking problems
  • Difficulty learning to swim
  • Difficulty reading
  • Dyslexia
  • Usually skips crawling
  • Sits with legs in a W position
  • ADD
  • ADHD
  • Hyper activity or fidgety
  • Poor hand eye coordination
  • Problems looking between near and far sighted objects, like copying from a chalkboard
  • Sloppy eater
  • Rotated Pelvis
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown. 


Check out the latest studies on Primitive Reflex Integration. My favorite is the newest study by Harvard.

Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex Test

Have the child get down on their hands and knees, with neck straight and their body slightly forward enough to put weight over their hands. Now ask the child to lower the head bringing the chin toward the chest for a count of 7 seconds, then raise head up toward their back. Do this several times.

Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex test


Retained Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex

Look For:

Back twitching. Back trying to arch up when head is up. Arms bending or body weight shifting back toward their legs when head goes up. If any of these occur the reflex is most likely still present. Exercise needed! 

Symetrical Tonic Neck Reflex Exercises