"A tic is a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic, stereotyped motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups. Tics can be invisible to the observer, such as abdominal tensing or toe crunching. Common motor and phonic tics are, respectively, eye blinking and throat clearing. Movements of other movement disorders (for example, chorea, dystonia, myoclonus) must be distinguished from tics. Other conditions, such as autism and stereotypic movement disorder, also include movements which may be confused with tics. Tics must also be distinguished from the compulsions of OCD and from seizure activity."
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 06/08/2011: Adk Mama from Long Lake, Ny-usa: "Just a note regarding magnesium and Tourettes.... A friend of mine has a little boy who began exhibiting tics with his head and neck. He and his parents were frustrated because they were reluctant to keep him on the meds prescribed for him as he became more irritable and clumsy. His parents took him off the meds and began supplementing his diet with a magnesium supplement every evening. I had recommended they check with their doctor to try magnesium and fish oil as we use these supplements for our family (but not for tics, only muscle cramps etc. ). He is not taking fish oil yet.
The very noticable tics have disappeared, he is now able to sleep through the night, has no headache complaints now and is performing better academically. He seems like a different child... Happier. He has only been taking the magnesium for around 2 weeks now. Best wishes to you all!"Replies
06/08/2011: Earth Clinic Fan from Grateful, Usa replies: "What kind of magnesium? Bless you for posting this wonderful information!"
06/09/2011: Adk Mama from Long Lake, Ny-usa replies: "Hello! I believe she purchased basic magnesium supplements at a pharmacy-250 mg... He takes one crushed up in applesauce in the evening. It has been remarkable thus far!"
11/29/2012: Tiffany from Mason replies: "I am 48 years old and have some for of tic issue all of my life. I read about taking more magnesium from different web sites and within a few days of adding it along with zinc to my diet and reducing my caffeine intake I feel like a different person. No more embarassing facial expressions, sounds etc. Kudos to the people who shared this priceless information."
11/22/2012: Theresa from San Diego, Ca: "Hi, my son has had motor tics (eye blinking, neck to chest, shoulder twitch) on and off since he was 7 (he's 17 now). There is no known cure and it is caused by a disconnect of the nerves (synapsis). Some call it Tourette's Syndrome, but it actually isn't (Tourette's is both motor and verbal). It is hereditary, and more common in males as you probably know. Stressful situations seem to make the tics happen more frequently. We have tried medications (guanfacine and _) which did not help. I brought him to a habit reversal therapist who diagnosed him as having an "overactive brain" meaning he needs more stimuli than most people to function normally. I've read recently hypnosis and magnesium help. Any input is appreciated."Replies
11/22/2012: Citizen from Amsterdam, Netherlands replies: "I remember reading years ago that tics are a result of an extreme zinc deficiency... maybe muscle testing will help determine this...."
11/22/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Theresa, I found what you had to say about your son quite interesting. My son began to show tics at about 7 as well. I always thought it was interesting because they would change over time- from one tic to a different one. He was very different as a person but I never thought of anything as a disorder but rather, that he was unusual. Socially, I could see he felt awkward often but I worked to help him integrate.
The tics seem to heighten when he felt stressed. I noticed that they wouldn't be quite as apparent when he'd done a lot of physical exercise. He was an avid rollerblade hockey player in his youth and then at about 10 became intensely interested in skateboarding. He was always an exceptional student and as your therapist said, I think he always had an "overactive brain" and has always needed a lot of stimuli both physically and mentally.
At any rate, he is now 27, has been happily married to a very wonderful young woman who is gentle and sensitive and he is now at UCLA studying English as his major. He helps run a very successful skateboarding company in charge of both media and sales. All of us who are family and close friends see his tics as just part of his package and we have all learned to laugh about them, including himself.
Anyway, I just thought I'd give you this input- just be there in support of him and help him to learn to be comfortable with himself. He will be fine. Best to you, Lisa"
11/25/2012: Tapike from San Augustine, Texas replies: "If there is a disconnect between the synapses in the brain, it could be because the nerves are not getting the proper nutrition. There are some good herbal nerve formulas (usually in tincture form) available to take internally & to massage in at the base of the brain. Several well-known herbalists have such formulas available (tho you can make your own). I won't mention names, but formulas by J. R. C. & R. S. are supposed to work very well.
There are other herbs & supplements that are supposed to help improve brain functioning & they may help to correct the "imbalance" your son has.
You might also try other forms of therapy such as brain entrainment (several forms are available including combinations) which consist of regularly listening to special CDS or MP3s.
Electronic Rife treatments may also help to relieve the tics & correct the "imbalance. " There are several low cost alternatives available using the Rife treatments, without having to purchase one of the over-priced machines sold online.
I will also mention magnetic treatment as another alternative, but please take the time to read up on this & other natural treatments from a variety of written sources & don't rush into anything.
I know a young man locally who has suffered tics for a long time. I noticed that he also suffered from a very bad case of acne, especially on his back & shoulders. He grew up on a farm, working in chicken houses. I've never approached him about it, but I've always had a feeling that the reason for his tics could possibly be due to some type of contamination his body picked up working in the chicken houses & that the severe acne he had might be some type of reaction of the body trying to get rid of the contaminaton, just as the tics were a reaction.
So, you might also check with a naturopath or allergist to rule out substances that could cause severe allergic reactions such as a tic. This should include both food & environmental substances."
03/18/2011: Healthy Momma from Wonder Puddle, Usa: "Greetings! I love this website and visit frequently for suggestions and feedback on ways to treat my family's illnesses and issues, but this time I'm not finding much! Please help!
My husband, who is currently in his early 30's, was diagnosed with Tourettes around the age of 8. The Tourettes went away on its own when my husband was around 11. He had multiple tics, such as excessive eye blinking, throat clearing, shoulder jerking, etc. He feels that the tics are coming back now.
I have no idea if the following is in any way related, but he was recently very sick with what a Dr. diagnosed as a bacterial infection, but seemed like a horrendous flu. My husband is never sick. He usually has a very solid immune system. An illness that has everyone dropping like flies doesn't usually touch him. Well this time it did and he was given the Z-pack. After that had no results the Dr. then diagnosed him with a urinary tract infection on top of the bacterial infection and gave him two different muscle relaxants and Levaquin. It just seems very suspicious to me that for a man who has never been sick throughout our 13 year relationship/marrige, that the one time he is sick, not only is he terribly ill, but his tics begin to resurface.
We would really appreciate some advice on natural ways to control or mitigate these tics! Please help!"
08/11/2012: Jo from Spanaway, Wa: "Wanted to share, I found that if I have my son soak in a epsen or sea salt bath (sea salt seems to work better) after he has gone swimming it seems to get rid of the chemicals from the pool and the facial tics don't become a problem. Hope this helps!"
Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin A
[YEA] 12/11/2009: Sid Davis from Springfield, Missouri, Usa: "While visiting my daughter at Thanksgiving time 2008, we noticed my then 7 year old grandson was making strange involuntary movements with his head. He would with some frequency jut his chin forward and upward, and then move it a little from side to side to stretch his neck. Again when we returned at Christmas time it was even worse, being more frequent when he was quiet than when active. It continued until summer of 2009 and suddenly by mid summer disappeared.
We noticed that the head movements began again by the end of October, 2009, this time with the addition of movements with his fingers like he was hand milking a cow. He complained of his fingers hurting from the movements which he could not stop.
My first thought was that there might be a seasonal factor or possible either the physical or emotional environment at school. One thing I thought about was the florescent lights in the school which are not full spectrum.
As an experiment in early November, 2009, we began giving him 2,000IU vitamin D3 capsules, three a day since he weighed about 80lbs. Our thinking was that maybe he was getting enough vitamin D from the sun in the summer, but not in the autumn and winter. An after some more research we added one 250mg Magnesium tablet per day beginning a few weeks later and a 5,000IU vitamin A capsule every other day.
So here we are 10 days into December, and for the last week we have not noticed any tics. I realize it is harder to observe something that isn't there than to notice something that is, so we are tentative in our certainty about this cure working, but excited nonetheless.
I will post again in two months, hopefully to confirm that this truly has worked. If anyone else is experiencing this problem, please post your results if you try the vitamin D3, Magnesium, Vitamin A treatment."
04/08/2010: Mary from San Antonio, Tx replies: "Sid Davis from Springfield, Missouri could you give me an update on your grandson? Have the supplements alleviated his tics? Thank you, I hope he is doing well."
09/16/2010: Tina from Dayton, Oh replies: "I am curious why vitamin A would help? Anyone have any other remedies that have helped with tics? my son is having problems with facial tics and there isn't a lot of reference on here with tics."
02/16/2011: Joe from Spanaway, Wa replies: "My son started to have facial tics about three years ago. All the doctors told me that there was nothing I could do and to ignore it. As a mom I knew somthing was not right. He was sensitive to everything food, chemicals etc. I took him to a natural path and he had a over growth of candida and fungal. After getting rid of the over growth the facial tics and be sensitive to everthing disappeared. When he is low in magnesium he does start to have mild facial tics and a ton of spinach seems to do the trick. Another thing I have noticed when he goes swimming in a chlorinated pool he starts to have tics, has anyone had this happen?"
06/27/2011: Sparklyfox from San Antonio , Tx replies: "I am a 34 yo female and my first observed tics were in a pool. That was a very profound statement I've always wondered why did my tics start randomly then. I was swimming which was a pleasant summer activity at my grandmother's pool with friend. It was low in the way of stress and I was about seven."
03/28/2012: Nmarie from Tampa, Florida replies: "Yes, my son's tics were made worse when he was in a chlorinated pool. Wondering if the chemicals exasperated the problem."
03/17/2013: Christine from Charlotte, Nc replies: "I found that there was a particular television show that was causing my son's tics. It was not that fast paced or crazy, but it did something to him. Once we stopped allowing him to watch that show, the tics dissappeared. We also just stopped all television for awhile, for good measure."