Tic Disorder, Twitches, Motor Tics in Children: Use Natural Treatments

Tic Disorder in a Preschooler: When Motor Tics Become a Problem

Our original neurologist told us that despite the severity of our son’s tic disorder, because his tics were only present a few short months, we would need to wait a full year from onset to diagnose him. She suspected it was Tourette Syndrome. She said after diagnosis she would begin a prescription of Topamax. She advised us to just ignore the tics and do the best we can. In her defense, she claimed that oftentimes tics disappear and don’t return (also known as transient tics). So she was hopeful that we would see a reduction in the behaviors and movements without the need to diagnose or medicate our very young child.

I left the office with such fear and disappointment pumping through my veins. I was unnerved and felt completely helpless. So I fought back by making it my business to read as much as I could about motor tics in children. I wanted to help my son recover from his tic disorder as much as possible before coming back to the neurologist. I really was afraid to get that prescription for his motor tics. What happened over those next six months was nothing short of a miracle in my mind, as our son made a slow and steady recovery from his tic disorder. We never did make it back to the neurologist’s office, and our son has never been prescribed medication for his childhood motor tics.

Dan Doctors or ACAM Doctors Use Alternative Treatments

Tic disorder treatments
Natural Treatments for tic disorders is discussed at length in Rogers book.

Instead of taking a conventional route, we started by reading: Lifeflow compared to Holosync and OmHarmonics (by David Foley) which set forth a research spree that lasted days, we chose to visit a pediatric physician for our son’s tic disorder. He practiced at the not for profit Pfeiffer Treatment Center in Warrenville, IL, until it closed it’s doors in 2011.  Now those doctors have opened up Mensah Medical and continue to do the same work. A DAN or ACAM doctor uses much of the protocol developed in the Defeat Autism Now movement. Although his office didn’t see motor tics in children as often as they did ADHD and Autism, he had a protocol for us to try.

Our son is now in what I consider remission from his tic disorder. He is developing normally both physically and mentally. We have a special diet and supplement regime that we have tailored specifically for our son’s needs. Our natural treatments for motor tics is based on blood, urine, hair, and genetic testing. Much of what we learned about motor tics in children has been researched and reported by many doctors and specialists in several areas of medicine and nutrition.

We know that the improvement in our son’s motor tics is from these efforts because we have seen increases in his tics when he has been exposed to his specific triggers. For example, when our son accidentally gets gluten and corn (which can cause dysbiosis) in his diet he will have motor tics. We will see improvements in his condition after we make specific changes again to avoid these two triggers. But gluten and corn are not our son’s only triggers. Many experts will tell parents who practice natural treatments for motor tics to avoid sugars, and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives too.

To find out more about food triggers, read: Motor Tics and Diet Deficiencies: Does Food Trigger Tics in Children?

If you would like more information on natural treatments for adults and children suffering from chronic multifocal tic disorders or Tourette Syndrome, check out the following resources:

  • Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette’s: A Patient and Family Guide
    by Sheila Rogers. This is a new release. We purchased her original book two years ago and it was instrumental in helping us devise a strategy for our son’s tic disorder recovery program.
  • Bontech Supplements by Bonnie Grimaldi (although we no longer use these vitamins because we get a special compounded vitamin for our son) we started on this brand and found it very helpful while we were searching for the causes and cure for our son’s tic disorder.
  • Latitudes Online, a publication of the Association for Comprehensive NeuroTherapy. This is an online-based magazine that highlights articles by experts, includes research updates, environmental tips, success stories, book reviews, and more. A subscription to Latitudes Online is a great way to stay updated on the latest findings for treating tics. Annual membership costs as little as $40 and includes a synopsis of all the latest journal abstracts available so you don’t have to compile the research yourself.

A Final Comment about  Natural Treatments for Tic Disorders:

If you have been helped by this information please leave a comment! I would love to hear other people’s stories. If you’ve found additional treatments that have helped your child please tell me about it. Natural treatments for tic disorders do work. Sometimes the result isn’t a complete cure. But fortunately for my celiac son it was. In our case curing the tic disorder meant giving up dietary sugar.

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60 Comments on Tic Disorder, Twitches, Motor Tics in Children: Use Natural Treatments

  1. This article is exactly what I needed to start with in trying to figure out how to help an adult loved one with occasional tics. It is greatly encouraging to know that there are means to help them so they don’t have to tough it out on their own. Your family’s approach to your son’s tics and the steep learning curve that everyone has reached and shared with so many of us are truly inspiring and moving.

  2. Thanks Mercola,
    I agree that mercury poisoning is a very real problem for many kids who tic. Surprisingly, in our case, our son had no heavy metal poisoning. The only element he was high in was copper, which is also dangerous and can cause depression. He was also anemic, which is puzzling to doctors. Unless, of course, they are familiar with celiac disease. Then it makes sense.

    I think it is important for parents to get their children tested for heavy metal toxicity, to either rule it out as a possibility or identify it as a possible trigger. Mercury is present in a select few vaccines still (and we were careful not to give any for our son, by the way), and are also present in CFL lights and thermometers. We originally had a real fear that our son had heavy metal poisoning. But surprisingly, in our case, that wasn’t so.

    • My 17 yr old son hasAsperger’s, OCD, anxiety, a few processing disorders, and started with vocal tics when we had to take him off of Risperdal d/t elevated liver enzymes and A1C, as well as prolactin. He was also on Lexapro. He is now on Clonidine and Zoloft with minimal, if any success. He stared with verbal tics when he got off of the Risperdal that lasted 2 wks. Now 2 mo. later he has had them again for 2 wks – though yesterday and today they have decreased. We have considered going to the Pfieffer treatment center, but in talking to them it sounded like they had not had success with tics. Your story gives me hope! His tics increased when he went up to 200 mg/day of Zoloft so now we have cut him down to 100 mg and the tics seem to be lessening after a week. The dr. was talking of changing him to another antidepressant or putting him on topamax or some other drug. I don’t want him on any! But he was so bad 5 yrs ago we could hardly talk to him because of the constant praying and anxiety.

      • Hi Debbie,
        I can’t really relate with your experience on mood enhancing medications for OCD, tics, and anxiety. I do know of a forum called Braintalk which could be very helpful but the server is being moved at the moment and it is down since March 31. Your son’s tics could be the result of the medication, possibly– but without more than just a research knowledge of medication for tics/OCD I am not much help in that regard.

        I will tell you that there are many natural treatment options to boost seratonin naturally in the body. We have utilized many. We have also used supplements that helped stimulate the liver to make it function better.

        There are many tests available that can assist you in determining which treatment route you want to take. You also need to find a good support group that knows the ins and outs of drug interactions and natural treatments. I know that sometimes the combinations of natural supps and prescription meds are dangerous when combined.

        In your research you will quickly learn that medical doctors know little about holistic approaches and natural treatments. This is not a slight on medical professionals. Many are very willing to try alternatives when they are supported by research and studies.

        In our experience the tics were immune related. Our son had undiagnosed celiac and leaky gut issues that seemed to correct itself when we put him on a special diet. It took a long time. Pfeiffer was great for creating a baseline for us to go on. The many lab tests helped us to pin point where we needed to go with treatment. We did do additional tests that they didn’t offer. We have also used Enterolabs with our whole family to determine sibiling risk for Celiac and also to do annual checks on gliadin antibodies in our dxd son to make sure he is in the normal range continually. Great Plains Labs has a series of tests for Tourette Syndrome, Autism, and OCD that check for viral, bacterial, and yeast overgrowth in the gut. They also measure nutrient levels in the urine and test for allergies via blood. There was a holistic approach to healing our son. The combined treatments over a long period of time helped to repair his immune system and put his symptoms into remission. If you would like to speak with someone that has personal experience coming off of Clonidine with her teen son I can refer you to her (with her permission).

        Here is a list of threads on different studies related to OCD and Tourettes and issues with digestion:

        healthy-family.org/forum/index.php/board,8.0.html
        Here is a website that lists most possible drug treatments and their side effects:
        tourettestreatment.com/list-of-treatments.php

        Tics can be the result of an allergic reaction. Many families report increase in tics during allergic seasons and also after ingesting certain foods. Dairy and Corn are biggies, followed by eggs and wheat. Fungal issues also play a major role in neuro issues. Gluten intolerance/celiac has been linked to Autism, OCD, and to schizophrenia. Pfeiffer has done studies on OCD and schizophrenia and nutrient deficiencies. It makes sense. In these cases the person is nutritionally starved even though they are eating heartily, because the intestines are stripped and so the nutrients do not absorb properly and thus it affects the person’s mood and behavior, and over time can effect the neuro system as well.

  3. Caryn,

    Thanks for sharing your story and your countless hours of research to help others! Our story is surprisingly similar to yours. We bought Sheila Rogers’ book several months ago and with the help of an Environmental Physician have finally found answers and relief for our son! We’ve found that gluten, corn, yeast, & tomatoes are major tic triggers for him. When we eliminated these foods and started supplements, we began to see dramatic improvements! I’m still amazed when I think about it.

    We love your website! I especially love your product reviews and your recipes. There is nothing more frustrating than driving all the way to Whole Foods, spending a fortune on acceptable foods, spending more time cooking, only to have your family take 2 bites of a meal and to see the rest go down the garbage disposal because nobody liked it. My family has started asking when I make a new recipe if it is a “Caryn recipe.” They know that means it will taste good! We appreciate what you are doing! Keep it up!

    The Smiths

  4. My granddaughter, now 8, started excessively clearing her throat at age 5. Last year, she started jumping and blinking her eyes. She does it all her waking hours, there’s never a day that she gets any relief! I feel so bad for her. Her mother is in denial and refuses to do anything. She has taken her to a neurologist, but as I’m sure you were told, there’s no cure. They gave her a prescription for a medicine that the pharmacist told her might cause blindness so she won’t give it to her. She says that I’m the only one it bothers. You have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to hear and see these tics. They are terrible. I watch her every day and it breaks my heart to see her like this. Please help!

    • Jacqueline,
      Without your daughter’s willingness, there isn’t much you can do, unfortunately. You could suggest eliminating dairy and supplementing with Kids Calm magnesium at night for a few weeks to see if she gets any relief at all. Magnesium relaxes muscles and if the diet is high in calcium there may be an imbalance there. Some families get relief just from doing this simple step. For us it was just the tip of the iceberg. We had to go so much further for relief. If your granddaughter does improve a little you can then pursue the idea of testing her for food allergies and vitamin mineral levels in her blood work. You can also test for gut imbalances like fungal overgrowth or bacterial overgrowth. Many of these kids have digestive problems. My son used to burp a lot all day long. Our alternative doctor said that was a red flag for digestive problems.

      There are many, many, possible causes for the ticcing and without proper testing the treatments you try are really only going to be doing guess work at best. But a little relief after a couple simple changes may be enough to convince your daughter and granddaughter that it is worth looking into. I understand your daughter’s position, too, to a point. She probably needs to feel that you love and accept her daughter just the way she is, tics and all, without trying to ‘fix’ her. Not all kids get cured. But the alternative treatments to alleviate symptoms quite a bit for many. I was told by the neurologist to ‘ignore’ the tics too. So you have to understand that conventional medicine tells patients and their parents this. It is very hard for a person to reach out past conventional medicine to try alternative treatments because the doctors generally make you feel like a fool for considering it. I mentioned using vitamins and magnesium to my neurologist and she said it would not hurt my son in the least bit but that it would do nothing to cure him. That’s not encouragement, on the contrary, it does more to convince you not to try. The best kind of doctor to seek out is a DAN doctor (Defeat Autism Now). They are conventional doctors who have additional training in alternative medicine and are willing to do holistic testing and natural treatments. That is the route we took.

      Our son started ticcing in 2007, and after changing his diet and using natural treatments to heal his gut it took 1 1/2 years before the symptoms went away completely. He last ticced while in kindergarten. He is now going into 3rd grade this fall. We eat as organic as possible with him, gluten free, low sugar, no artificial colors or preservatives, and plenty of water. He does not drink pop or eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. And he’s really pretty happy with the way things are. Oh, and we no longer see that neurologist at all ;>)

  5. Dear Caryn,

    I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to find this article. My daughter, age 6, has been having progressively worsening tics since early winter of this year. I could write her story, but it is actually about exactly what you have written above regarding your son. The details of similarity are stunning to me but you’re probably not surprised… sniffling/clearing throat was first (also missed as a tic) and quickly progressed to be multifocal, which it still is currently. I also received the same stories with the doctors that everyone receives. She is also gluten and corn intolerant. I have always believed in alternative medicine and have had them (my 4 yo son also, with Chronic Lyme) in an excellent set of alternative practitioners for about a year. The tics progressed to her jumping up and down repeatedly to where she couldn’t perform many simple duties without much frustration. I recently had a nurse of a specialty field explain the brown ring around her otherwise beautiful green eyes is not a good sign!

    I know we are on the right track – exploring things that come to mind, food sensitivities, vitamin deficiencies, regular adjustments, etc. They take Kid’s Calm Multi and Natural Calm as well as a host of other supplements as needed. I am going to request a heavy metal test at her next appointment and was thinking of exploring the DAN Doctor option, but I was wondering if you could recommend any other steps right away that were maybe a bit of a “breakthrough” during your son’s care. If we don’t have to see another doctor, especially with the potential of travelling, it would be helpful since there is a lot of doctor seeing in our house lately.

    Thank you so much for anything you can offer! Your note about not seeing a complete change for 1 ½ years is also helpful to know that the right track can still take plenty of time.

    • Amanda,
      The tics can be a direct result of Lyme disease, too….. Has your daughter been tested, treated for Lyme? I don’t know much about the Lyme treatment protocol, but do understand that the ticcing is only a manifestation of various systemic problems in the body. The causes can differ as much as the treatments do. A systemic fungal infection (candidiasis) will cause similar ticcing symptoms, for example, but will worsen with antibiotic treatment, whereas they will lesson with a child suffering from Lyme induced ticcing. There was a dissertation written that supports the idea that tic disorders are an autoimmune reaction in the body. Thanks for sharing and keep us updated on what you learn! BTW, we are still 100% tic free over here and still managing his condition with diet and supplements.
      Caryn

  6. This is my story…My 5-year-old son’s tics started over a year ago. Head jerking and eye blinking were the most common. I took him to the pediatrician and was told that temporary tics are very common in children and that he will most likely grow out of it. A few months ago, his head jerking started to subside but was replaced with throat clearing and an occasion “squeaking” sound he would make. Some days alot (once per minute) some days periodically (once per five-ten minutes). Then, when we were in Mexico last month he started making the noises so loudly and regularly that we new, as any parent intuitively would, it wasn’t “just a temporary tic” and as soon as we returned to the states I made an appointment for him to see a Pediatric Neurologist. That was on February 29th and I was told that he couldn’t be seen until April 2nd…which felt like an eternity. And this is where our journey began.

    I couldn’t just sit around and wait for his appointment so, like many of you I’m sure, I googled “children with tics” and the term Tourettes popped up everywhere. I remember feeling like I just wanted to cry. I read story after story and watched video after video of children with Ethan’s exact symptoms who were diagnosed with Tourettes. While at the same time…trying to understand what exactly Tourettes is. Which, if you’ve researched it you, too, probably found that no one really knows what causes it or how to treat it. Turns out that Tourettes is just a label for a mysterious condition…and for some reason that gave me hope and sent me on my mission to help Ethan on my own.

    I then came across some stories from parents who believed that their children’s tics were related to food allergies and many of them swore by a book called “Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes”. If you go to Amazon and read the comments it will amaze you. It was an “ah ha” moment for me and I ordered the book that day.

    I received the book on March 13th, made an appointment with a food allergist on March 14th and on March 16th decided to experiment on my own (appt with food allergist wasn’t for another week) and I removed dairy and artificial additives from Ethan’s diet. By March 19th, only 3 days later, his tics were 80% gone. It was the first time in a year he had gone for more than 10 minutes without a tic. Today is March 22nd and he’s at 90%. His dad and I can’t believe it. Just like that, gone! All because of what he was eating? Why did I have to dig so deep to find the connection between tics and food allergies. I can’t help but wonder if parents of children with “Tourettes” have exhausted the possibility of it being food related–has anyone even told them to try?? Anyway, Ethan’s scratch test at the allergist’s was inconclusive so we’re scheduled to do a blood test this week and results will take 10 days–I will for surely post the results. Parents–don’t bother with the scratch test…and don’t let the doctor try to talk you into it–it was uncomfortable for Ethan and a waste of time in the end. The blood test or “intradermal” test is far more conclusive. We will still go to see the Neurologist on 4/2 regardless of Ethan’s improvement.

    I know that we are only on day 4 and a big part of me fears that this is too good to be true and that the tics will resurface again but at the same time I also feel very empowered and hopeful…and I will continue on this mission for as long as it takes. If you want to email me with questions regarding the success we’re having email tb_shaw [at] comcast.net.

  7. What a great forum to find. My son, who has just turned 5, story sounds just like Caryn’s boy – almost identical. I have just ordered the book that everyone is talking about and waiting to see an allergy specialist, and also for blood test results. I just have a few questions in the meatime and I’m hoping this is the place where I will find some answers.
    I live rurally in New Zealand, where the housing standards are very poor and damp. The houses here are heated by woodburners, and alot of our neighbours use coal instead of wood for heat. I am positive the coal dust (which leaches out mercury) is very bad for my son and wondering if anyone has any information on using a hepa filter can recommend any other air filter that I should research to purchase for my home. Unfortunately we cannot stop burning wood to heat our house, but hopefully there is a way to make the air inside cleaner for him. I notice his symptoms are always much worse in march, which is the beginning of autumn when everyone begins to light their fires for heat.
    I was also wondering which probiotics are the best for children with tics. I have had little help from the health stores here, and there is an overwhelming amount on the interenet for me to sort through. Therelac seems to be the one??
    And also… any thoughts on nystatin? Has anyone tried it?
    And one more question – what about colostrum chewables?
    Hopefully this thread is not too old, I couldn’t see any dates. I am desperate for any information. As I said we live very rurally, so my only resource is the internet. The forums seem to be the place to be.
    Thanks again
    Kristen

  8. Kristen, Caryn seems to keep up to date on this site, so that is very nice.
    I can only comment on your note about the mercury. In my research for my daughter’s issues, there were many, many indications of tics resulting from a high amount of metal in our bodies. Especially aluminum and mercury.
    I didn’t end up getting this checked out yet for my daughter since it’s not covered by our insurance. Diet alteration has been the biggest helps, but it’s not always everything. Hopefully you can pursue this route with more research! Best wishes.

  9. Hi Kristen,
    If you believe your son has an imbalance in his gut flora, try getting in touch with Dr. Rodney Ford, a pediatric gastroenterologist in Christchurch, NZ. He specializes in gluten intolerance issues and may have insights on probiotics, etc…. that you can find locally. We used Kirkman Labs Pro Bio Gold. http://kirkmanlabs.com/ProductKirkman/186/1/Pro-BioGoldand-Hypoallergenic/
    But it won’t stay potent en transit to NZ, I would think. You can make your own with goat milk, too. The trick is to make sure he’s getting a large enough dose. If there is candida, you can use Candex instead of nystatin. We did that with our doctor. We did too high of a dose initially and he got swollen glands from it. So be sure to get lab work done and record symptoms as you treat him. If you live in a damp environment you may see this as a reoccurring issue seasonally.
    From all the research I have done I’ve learned that the ticcing is mainly due to a sulfation system weakness in the body. Your son may have an autoimmune disorder you are unaware of, or unknown food allergies. You could try supplementing with NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) a supplement that helps the body create glutatione which will help the body clear toxins and get rid of free radicals. We’ve used it on and off. Our son is doing really well. He’s now 9, and sticks to a very healthy gluten free diet. We eat mainly low carb and low sugar. We aren’t religious about it anymore because he has maintained his wellness for almost 4 years. But it is a lifestyle choice. Our house has also been improved. We remodeled our basement due to flood damage and installed a trench to drain water. We also took out carpeting and installed hardwood flooring in nearly every room. We installed new windows with tighter sealants. Our son does have mild seasonal allergies from the environment but he remains tic free. I believe a low grain diet that avoids artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives is crucial. So is being sugar free. (There is a candy company in South Africa that makes sugar free candies we like, too. http://www.caringcandies.co.za/contact.htm
    I can’t speak about using a hepa filter. We’ve never tried that. We do have a fireplace and burn wood but we have a natural gas furnace too.
    Best wishes.
    Caryn

    • Hi Mena
      I am definitely going to look into the heavy metal – we are surrounded by gold mines and I’m SURE it has to be bad for my family. I’m not sure how because we are not covered either, but if you like I can keep you up to date on any information I find on it. It would be great if you could do the same if you end up looking further into it.
      Cheers
      Kristen

      Also Caryn thank you so much for the information. Your name comes up all over the place during my google searches! I have made an appointment with Rodney Ford on the 10th, I’m hoping for some great assistance for him (fingers crossed!). I can’t remember if I mentioned above, but did you ever try a colostrum supplement with your son?
      Thanks again
      Kristen

  10. My son has had tics since first grade. He is just finishing sixth grade. He was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Dec 26, 2010. I did not know it was an autoimmune disease until he was diagnosed. Lately, I have been looking into a gluten free diet since celiac disease is so closely related to type 1 diabetes. His insulin amount is based on carb count. Some gluten free things I have looked at the grocery store have high carb count. I mentioned to his dr. at last check up that I was thinking of changing his diet. I have seen lots of comments online about type 1 diabetics that have come off insulin or reduced insulin amounts from gluten free diets. I currently have my son on Tic Tamer and liquid calcium magnesium for his tics. Found these researching online but can’t say if they help or not. He still has tics off and on. I will say it is very overwhelming seeing all the information online and wondering what is best to help him. I have bought some gluten free items and have had ok response from him so far. We did get a gluten free pizza from Mellow Mushroom after last dr. appt. Pizza is his favorite but I think a piece of cardboard would have tasted better than what we had. Seems like gluten free might help both of his problems. The more I look, the more information I see and it is hard to figure out what is really the best. I am a confused mom trying to figure it all out. I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks Ann

    • Hi Ann,
      Thanks for stopping by. I agree that many processed gluten free items are high in both carbs and sugar and often not good for celiac patients with dysbiosis. There is a lot of research and anecdotal evidence to support the theory that tics are triggered by bacterial or fungal overgrowth, too. Both of these thrive on high carb high sugar diets. If you suspect celiac you may want to have your son tested. Newly diagnosed celiacs will have flattened villi and sometimes intestinal damage that causes bacterial and fungal overgrowth. Even if you don’t get him tested for celiac, the best diet for healing is a low sugar, and a whole food low carb one (lots of veggies, salads, and some fruits). When my son was diagnosed we had to eliminate corn, soy, wheat, yeast, and refined sugars. We gave him lots of supplements, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and b complex with P5P version of B6. We also did vitamin D. Pizza wasn’t an option for at least 9 months for my son. But once his digestive system healed he was able to eat it again on occasion. Nowadays there are a lot of low carb pizza options. You can look into SCD and GAPS diet, Paleo diet for recipe and menu ideas. We didn’t follow any one particular diet. We just did what felt right to us. And we did allow ‘sugar’ on occasion for parties. For us the biggest triggers were also artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

      Having said all this, kids with tics often times get them from stress too. If your son is often stressed out and worried his own emotional state could contribute to his symptoms. Is he high strung? Is he hard on himself about things? Does he worry a lot? Reducing stress and learning how to cope with stress (and give himself a break) is also good.

      Do what feels right for you and your son. Trust your instincts. Have patience because this kind of cure is not immediate and takes time. Your son needs to be willing to do this. Have him set a goal for himself. Circle a target date on the calendar (at least 6 months off). After 6 months has he seen an improvement? Was the lifestyle change worth it? Is he willing to do it longer?

      We did this with our son. At six months we were sold. By nine months he was almost himself again. After over a year he was like a new person.

      • Thanks for the reply. My son does not have celiac. He has been tested during one of his diabetes check-ups. There is no concern regarding that. It is just closely related to type 1 diabetes so I have read a lot about the benefits of the gluten free for diabetics. I would not say that he is high strung. He used to be much harder on himself when he was younger, but seems to have let go more since he is maturing. I agree stress plays a factor with the tics. I also believe allergies seem to trigger as well. I have read some on the paleo diet and other things. There is so much information on the internet. I don’t know if we will follow any certain diet. We do plan to have a garden and I have a friend that sells fresh eggs. We have changed to almond milk and some gluten free foods. I have started buying more organic fruits and vegetables. School will be out this week so it will be much easier to monitor how he does with the change this summer. These small changes are for our whole family and not just my son. When he was first diagnosed with the tics the neurologist said that he would either outgrow them or they would get worse. If we felt like they interrupted his daily activities then we could medicate him. We wont do that. It was easier for him in elementary school because kids are never quiet or still. This year in middle school has been different. He did miss one week of school this year because they were so bad. That’s when I started with the liquid calcium magnesium and Tic Tamer and considered home schooling. They decreased in severity back to what there used to be – mild and somewhat noticeable. When he was diagnosed with the type 1 diabetes, we were told he could eat what he wanted and just cover it with insulin. Sounded good at the time because the diabetes itself was a lot to deal with. We are less stressed over the diabetes now and he has adjusted well. Obviously, it is not good for any of us to just eat what we want. It will catch up to us! I am wanting to make appropriate changes in our families diet to benefit all of us, but mostly my son. I just wished the medical establishment would give more information on natural treatments and healthier ways of living that have a positive affect. There are many people out there that don’t have access to information that could help them make better choices. Sorry to sound so critical, but medically we are a society that has a pill to take for everything. It’s all about the money! I will get off the soap box now. Glad I can find helpful information like your site and others.

  11. i was wondering if i can combine tic tamer and kids natural calm multi for my 10 year old son who is demonstrating vocal and motor tics for almost two years now? Also, when is the best time to give natural calm multi? TIA

  12. funny we have a very similar story. our son started with eye blinking. we were told to wait one year, and he was diagnosed with TS at the age of 7. thank you for the article. although our son is now 17, we are just now starting to find out about natural remedies. he stopped using medical interventions on his own several years ago, and his tics are sometimes really bad. we hope the dietary changes will help. thank you again for the information.

  13. Has anyone noticed tics appear after illnesses? My daughter had strep throat and began doing a mouth opening tic afterwards. Then, shortly after, she had pink eye and now blinks a lot. I mentioned PANDAS to her pediatrician, but she didn’t seem to give it much credibility. I’m going to try some of the natural remedies – like changing her diet. I have a lot of reading to do. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks.

    • Yes ! My sons tics always get worse when he is sick , almost like a aura … rapid eye blinking (47 times In a minute ) or the mouth opening ( we call it guppying ) or a head tilt or vocal noise . Same story as the rest started within a few days if a vaccination told not to worry about it even though sometimes he ” Guppys” so badly he can’t speak . Just started on our journey for diet and supplements . Cod liver oil and probiotics has helped . Working to rid yeast from his body . Tested negative for celiac but it does affect tics and behavior .

  14. Hi Allison just read your last comment, my daughter in Prep seemed to have candida fungal infection in the corners of her mouth, they were extremely cracked and began opening her mouth, originally due to it being dry and sore however has now continued doing the mouth stretching constantly, about every 5 – 10 seconds. It has now been 2 weeks and she has been asked by kids at school to stop doing the thing with her mouth. It’s awful.

    Hi Caryn
    I totally agree with you about the candida, is there a medication that can get rid of this or is it all diet related?

  15. No, actually, the blinking has subsided for the most part but she is still doing the mouth movements.

    • Hi Allison, my daughter may have also had a strep throat infection a couple of weeks but only complained about having a hot neck and I didn’t take her to see the doctor even though I lost my voice a week ago and could hardly swallow and was on antibiotics. After reading tics occur after strep throat but can go undetected I have now taken her in for a test however it has likely passed now if she did have it.

      How long has your daughter been doing the mouth tic for?

    • Have you tried any diet adjustments or remedys? Is she opening her mouth wide and then closing? this is what my daughter is doing and she can be doing it over and over again constantly at times.

  16. Yes, that is what she does. It seems to come and go now. She will go through periods of not doing it and then all of a sudden she will start it. We have made small diet adjustments and are hoping to do more. We have also tried to really reduce stress for her and get her to bed earlier. It has definitely lessened since it started 2 months ago. I am hoping it goes away within the next month. Was there a trigger event for your daughter? Mine was strep throat.

  17. I am suspecting that she did have a strep throat (as everyone else in the family had a sore throat) but we tested late and have not got the results back yet. When you say she goes through periods of not doing it, is this through the day or does she go days without doing it. Any particular diet adjustments that you have made make any noticeable improvement?

  18. Hi Jasmine – She goes through periods during the day of not doing it, but so far she has done it every day. The amount of times doing it has lessened, though. I am hopeful that it is on its way out. The eye blinking has stopped. How long has your daughter been doing it? I bought a book online called “Natural Treatments for Tics & Tourette’s”. I am still reading it, but it is very interesting and provides ideas of what to change to try to see if it helps the tics. There are stories of people who swear by the changes and that they helped their children. So far, we have tried to limit sugar and food with lots of bad ingredients (still in the process – it is hard to change your diet!). We have also been buying more organic foods. If I find anything that truly helps, I will let you know. Have you already read about PANDAS? It’s a condition that could result from strep. Let me know how things go for your daughter.

    • We are going through same things with our son. And it is so hard to change your diet and your child’s diet as well as really find out what the big triggers are….good luck……I will post if I see anything that works.

  19. tics are neurologic problems and are probably due to the vaccines. Yes metal toxicity can come from the vaccines too

  20. Hi, just went to psychiatrist at my sons children’s hospital that basically as many have experienced stated the only thing to do is find out what Are his triggers ..but basically there is nothing that can be done….his last episode he damaged his tongue by pushing it against his teeth. I was told as well there are medications,but with side effects we are trying to see what foods maybe triggers and it seems like sugar and dairy are big ones and maybe gluten….also video games and anytime he gets an infection. I am now trying to find a naturopath. I believe that will help more than conventional doctors….it’s so frustrating. It has now been a year. He first started April 2015, started with eye twitching, then nothing all last summer , then agin had tics , neck rolling and eye twitching in September and October, when he battled a flu…then again in. December after another flu. Then went away, niw again in April 2016, this was the worst episode thus far. Which is why we sought additional help. Have been told as well, just to live with it……also now since over a year the psychiatrist diagnosed him with chronic motor tics……There has been no blood work or any other tests as all docs say not needed,,,,,,my husband and I believe he has food intolerances …we are just trying to figure it all out. This article gives us hope…..I am going to look into this and research more into more natural ways ….thank you for the article….any advice would be so appreciated…..thank you

  21. I am in my late forties and had ocd and severe tics since age two. Medication for ocd only made the tics worse. Anxiety meds helped but I hated the way they made me feel, and I ended up fat and braindead. I also have a slow pupil-catchup rate which means I feel dizzy all the time, drugs just made me feel soo dizzy I couldnt bear it. I eat a clean healthy diet, do not smoke or drink and avoid anything processed or chemical. My life is a living hell.
    Can anyone offer any supplements that have helped tics? Im desperate. Thanks

    • I am in my thirties and have had tics since I was about 7. I have also tried a variety of drugs only to make me feel like a zombie. A few years ago I met a nutrionist who used to have Tourette’s and managed to get rid of 98% of the tics through a strict diet and lots of exercise. When I started doing the same thing I noticed a HUGE difference within 2 months. I kept this up for a while and sometimes I fall back on my old diet and see my tics resurge. His diet included no gluten,dairy,corn, sugar, caffeine and alcohol among other things. I have noticed that no gluten makes a huge difference as well as continued exercise. The diet may sound difficult but after a bit it becomes easy and there are so many cookbooks out there that are easy and delicious. Doctors will tell you that there is no cure but I have finally found a way to decrease my tics and feel like I’m getting my life back.

  22. Good afternoon. Thank you so much for your website.
    My son is 9 years old. His tics started approximately 2years ago…different ones. This is why we did not pay attention at the beginning. Now we have one type of tics after another: blinking eyes, moving shoulders , stomach, hands etc. we visited pediatritian and of course he said it is stress and it will disappear. It is painfull to see and realize that we are helpless. I will try to avoid any “bad” food and make another appointment asking for allergy test and some infection tests. As I understand from all of the sources- it will not desapear. Why Dr keep telling all of us that our kids will grow up from this? It is scary.

  23. I have a 7-year old son who has the same basic story. His tics started about 2 years ago. His biggest triggers are when he plays Minecraft (including just watching the videos) and Lego Star Wars. Other games don’t seem to have the same effect. If he does more than 30 minutes on Minecraft or Lego Star Wars, his tics will appear; the level of severity increases with the amount of time spent on the games. I have not explored dietary links but will definitely keep an eye out for now after reading all of the comments. When it first progressed, he was so bad he could hardly function. The number one thing (other than limiting the video games) that helped my son’s tics is Dead Sea Magnesium Oil. I use it on him most every night, and multiple times throughout the day when he is having a bad spell. He is not vaccinated and is not at all a stressful child. Extremely healthy otherwise. He is having a recurrence right now after spending a few nights with a friend and being on electronics a lot. A few doses of the magnesium oil and he is already improving. Reading the comment about the tics following an illness made me realize he did, however, just have a few hours’ episode of vomiting with no other symptoms; this occurred on the morning he came home from the friend’s house. Maybe a combination? I’ll have to keep an eye out. I just wanted to post about the specific video games being a trigger since I, surprisingly, have not seen any comments about it. Maybe it will help someone else.

  24. Just an update for my 5 yr old with yawning tic, this has now reduced in frequency considerably and she can go long periods without doing it, however she has developed another one, hand opening and closing, at least with this one it is not as socially hindering as the yawning tic. We have had her on a magnesium supplement and taken her to the oesteopath several times and now do exercises to help her moro reflex, muscle resistance and releasing.

  25. Why is it only ever about children? Im nearly 50 and had severe Tocd all my life. diagnosed with severe tics and ocd as a young child. Drugged heavily for two years at age 8 and it went away until my thirties. Now its back with avengence and killing me. The so called ‘treatments’ have done nothing but make me suffer, and Ive done all the rounds with the psy dept and horrible medications. I cant even leave the house now, my tics are so extreme and the slightest thing (everything) triggers them. I dont want to do heavy drugs again, I dont like being a zombie. Its like the psy don’t have a clue how to treat this. Im trying b vitamins and minerals at the moment and also homeopathy, and praying for it to work. The drugs are so medieval; they make me feel brain dead and have ruined my intelligence. The medical establishment dont have a clue. Might as well trepan me and throw me in the ward pumped full of anti psychotic meds.. that’s about all there is left in their opinion. And lets do some ect while they’re at it… kill every last bit of my mind just to see if its helps. Sorry for ranting. Im just appauled at the way this is treated, when they should be looking at mineral deficiences and natural therapies. Will they ever reach this?

    • I am in my thirties and have had tics since I was about 7. I have also tried a variety of drugs only to make me feel like a zombie. A few years ago I met a nutrionist who used to have Tourette’s and managed to get rid of 98% of the tics through a strict diet and lots of exercise. When I started doing the same thing I noticed a HUGE difference within 2 months. I kept this up for a while and sometimes I fall back on my old diet and see my tics resurge. His diet included no gluten,dairy,corn, sugar, caffeine and alcohol among other things. I have noticed that no gluten makes a huge difference as well as continued exercise. The diet may sound difficult but after a bit it becomes easy and there are so many cookbooks out there that are easy and delicious. Doctors will tell you that there is no cure but I have finally found a way to decrease my tics and feel like I’m getting my life back.

  26. How about vocal tics repeating words…my son is 9 yrs old. He cannot read well. Please help. Thanks God bless

  27. My daughter just turned 4. At first, I thought her tics were just a cute phase. She went through the picking nose, inappropriate language phase, and this was just another, right? After 5 months, I started to worry. Your testimony immediately made me feel better. My daughter drinks tea and sugary drinks regularly. A couple weeks ago, I started giving her only water or gatorade. Her tics have decreased significantly. Im not sure if she will continue to have tics for her whole life, but I know that a clean diet can help tremendously! Thanks again!!

  28. just an update on my daughters open mouth tic over the June holidays she pretty much stopped doing this and had no tics up until the last weekend where she has now started doing a clearing the throat tic, it appears this will probably keep transforming itself for a while – I have read it is something to do with an underdeveloped neurological system in young children. My paediatrician said up to 20% of children develop tics

    • Hi Jasmine. Well when I was young my tics started with eye blinking and throat clearing. Then they started to change at different times. Sometimes it would be a kind of head nod/jolt or a shoulder shrug, grinding my teeth, or even pushing my stomach out. Sometimes it would be flexing an arm or leg muscle. And some tics would go and then reappear. I tried so many medications and different types of therapies and even hypnosis ( which worked for about 3 days). I’ve found that a strict diet and lots of exercise worked the best.

  29. She didn’t have tics until she had strep throat in March. The eye blinking stopped when the pink eye was all better, but she still does the mouth opening. It’s been nearly 8 months now.

  30. Hi Jennifer
    This sounds very much like the type of tics my daughter has, it went from mouth opening for one month. No tics at all for one month then after a cold she started on throat clearing tic. She wanted to grow her fringe out but this soon started a blinking tic and then at the start of spring a touch hayfever has caused a nose and face scrunching tic. I also notice she curls her toes and closes and opens her hands very consistently. I have taken her to see a homeopath and so far they have subsided but I don’t know if its the homeopathy treatment or whether she is just having a waning period.

  31. I went to homeopathic too. What did they give your daughter? We are taking Mg calm powder as well as tissue salt. Also try to reduce sugar but it is hard as my son likes candies.

  32. Hi My 9 year old daughter has recently developed 2 tics.The first one, eye rolling I didn’t realise was a tic until another one developed 3 weeks a go that is a sort of gasp of the throat.We live in the U.K.
    We are going to see a doctor at our local surgery tomorrow but don’t expect any help.My daughter has no social, behaviour issues and is very happy with lots of friends and interests.
    my husband and I are worried but we also think It could be food related.Our daughter recently had a fungal skin infection which led to wart type spots on her body.I am going to to do all I can to help her and will start by ordering the book “Natural treatments for Tics and tourettes ” also I want to get an allergie and food Intolerance test done.I am so glad that I have found this website because most of the information has terrified me.
    My daughter is a bright, happy girl and I hope and pray we can help her.Thankyou so much.

    • Hi Marika. I just wanted to wish you luck with finding a treatment for your daughter. For me, cutting out gluten and sugar has helped tremendously along with other dietary changes and also exercise. I will say that no matter what happens I think the most important thing is to embrace whatever tics she may have and never shame her. My parents were told by a doctor that I was doing tics for attention and to embarrass me to make me stop. They would make fun of me in front of people and made me feel ashamed of my tics and it has deeply affected how I feel about myself and how I interact with others. I know other people with Tourette’s and tics whose parents embraced the tics and made them feel like it was nothing to be ashamed about and they are very happy and extroverted people. So I just wanted to share how important it is to show love and kindness and acceptance.

  33. Hi Katy sorry for the delayed reply I had to wait for my next homeopath consult to find out as it is not marked on the bottles. We are taking Argent Nite twice a week at night 15 mis before she brushes her teeth at night. We also take another remedy in the mornings which is for anxiety.

    Since taking them facial tics are minimal and would not be noticeable to everyone else. She has however developed a tic where she crosses her leg over and bends down almost like she is holding on to go to the toilet and another where she stretches her neck up, these occur just every now and again throughout the day so I’m not overly concerned.

  34. For about 2 months now my son has been blinking excessively and does a clicking sound in the back of his throat. My pediatrician says it will most likely pass but I’m driving myself crazy reading things online. His tics did start close to a strep infection so I’m nervous about PANDAS but can tell my pediatrician is skeptical. Just curious where to start with all the tests. Blood work? Allergy test? How do you test for leaky gut? Thank you!

  35. My daughter is diagnosed with Absence seizures (2.5 years ago) and started tics about a year ago. Our neuro has also said they should subside and go with it. What tests should I start with? She is on a seizure med to control those.
    Thanks!

  36. They frequently change. Arm jerking, neck jerking, sometimes she is bouncing around. We recently had a 24 hr Video EEG to rule out any other seizure activity. Neurologist confirmed they are all tics. We are currently going through the waning cycle. I’m having a hard time picking out any triggers for her.

  37. Hi Carrie my 6yo daughter also waxes and wanes with tics over Christmas had a very twitchy nose I could tell it was very involuntary and twitching every few seconds lasted a couple of weeks and has since calmed down to a lesser frequency which is slightly less noticeable. It’s so upsetting to watch them go through this, my daughter gets very self conscious and hides her nose with her hands when she feels everyone staring, she literally can’t stop it happening. She also has a strange way of holding her hands in a tense position with fingers pressed together tightly. I give her daily magnesium, I think it helps.

  38. Wow, I found your article while researching sugar withdrawals for myself. In 2002, our then 5yr old began heavy ticing over a very short period of time. After lots of test and trips to Texas Children’s Hospital and then Memorial Children’s in Houston, he was eventually diagnosed with Tourette’s. He too started showing signs after his 4yr old shots which were a little delayed. He’s 20 years old now and in college. He still struggles with waxing and waning of his tics. I can’t wait to share this article with him. I haven’t read through all the years of previous post yet, but wonder if the diet would help him now that he’s grown. When he was about 8, I tried a gluten free diet for a month with no results. I’m have celiac so when I heard there was a possibility that the diet would work, I was so excited. However, I wonder if I needed to eliminate more. So many question! If anyone has tips, I’m open.

  39. My son had tics when he was finishing kindergarten and into first grade and was diagnosed with a mild case of chronic tic disorder Within two months of a clean diet and magnesium supplement (400mg/day) he was tic free. Lasted t 1/2 years and after giving him Claritin every day last week, his tics are suddenly back. I had also relaxed the diet a bit. Going back to cleaner eating and magnesium today.

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