Editor’s note: We welcome blogger AndreaF back to TSParentsOnline with a follow-up to her popular post from a few years ago. What are your experiences with these methods to reduce tics? We’d love to hear from you.
Before my book came out I was blogging pretty regularly for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. One of the posts that garnered 61 comments was on Five Things that Can Help With Tics.
A few years later, and with more research, I have decided to update the list a bit for new parents who keep writing me with the same question.
Question: How do I fix the tics?
Answer: There is no one-size-fits all answer. Every child is different.
What Can You Do If You’re Freaking Out About Tics?
I’m no doctor, but after 10 years at this I can passionately state that all kids tic for a variety of reasons. I, personally, didn’t feel medication was the answer right off the bat for my son. It still isn’t. If it got severe enough, of course I would consider it, but so far it has not.
Here’s what I tell all parents who write me with concerns over their ticking kids. I tell them to ask a few important questions – the same ones I asked myself.
Questions to Ask if Your Child is Ticking
- Could there be vitamin deficiencies happening?
- What kind of environmental stressors could be worked on? (Less tension at home, less electronics?, etc.)
- How much sleep is your child getting?
- What kind of exercise is your child getting?
- What does your child’s diet consist of?
It’s Up To You!
None of these questions are meant to either shame or suggest there are simple answers for complicated tic issues. Again, each child is different. My suggestion is to go to a naturopath and have your child evaluated for his/her individual condition. If you are low on funds (which I was) you can start with the basics and see if this helps. It helped in our case and I hope it helps in yours!
5 Things to Help With Tics
- Magnesium: I gave my son 500 mg of magnesium a day, and it really helped with his eye rolls and vocals. For some little kids this might be too much, but I’ve been told the worst thing excess magnesium can do is cause diarrhea. Now my son takes a calcium/magnesium supplement as the magnesium is best absorbed with calcium. The ratio is double the calcium to the magnesium.
- Gluten Free: It was a pain, but it helped, and continues to help enormously. He can concentrate more and can fall asleep quickly. When he was not gluten free, it would take hours for him to settle down. He is still a high energy kid, but much less so now.
- Dairy Free: Ditto the gluten. It was a pain, but we’ve found many ways to supplement his calcium through rice milk, vegetables and fruit.
- Sleep: 10 hours of sleep a night is crucial and a huge tic reducer.
- No artificial flavors or preservatives: My son is very sensitive to chemicals. They can set tics off like bees around a honey pot. Not worth the sting of excess tics except on special occasions.
2 Other Supplements * Talk to you Naturopath first *
6. NAC – Standing for N-Acetylcysteine, this is an amino acid that can be purchased at any vitamin store. This natural supplement acts as an antioxidant and glutamate modulating agent.
According to this webinar, featuring Dr. Mark Mintz, “They (a study) found the N-acetyl cysteine decreased symptoms of trichotillomania (hair pulling) compared to placebo. It makes theoretical sense as NAC can modulate dopamine. So, there are reports that NAC can improve mood disorders as well (such as obsessive compulsive disorder). There needs to be more research and reports to have a better handle on the effects of NAC in Tourette, but it appears to show some promise.”
7. Taurine – I talk about Taurine here. My son is currently on 500 MG but I think he could use 1000. That said, I will talk to my naturopath first!
What have been your experiences with tics? Did any of you find it made a difference for your children? What about in some of your cases where tics were more severe? Would love to hear!
Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB.
This can surely be frustrating for parents.
My son’s tic is worse when he gets tired. We’ve got significant improvement when I gave him cherifer. It is a popular multivitamin for kids in the Philippines and it has taurine. I buy it in Filipino stores here in Canada, sometimes there are online sellers too so I normally just stock this up whenever I can so we won’t run out of it. I noticed that taurine isn’t included in most formula milk here in North America when it is very common to find this in children’s milk in Asia.
I also live in Canada. Do you mind letting me know where I can find cherifer here and the name of the vitamin? I see there are lots of options from this brand. Thank you!
The integrative doctors at Mensah Medical -www.Mensah medical.com have significant success using biomarker testing and individualized nutrient therapy to treat tics, mood disorders and all mental illness dx by finding the root causes via clinical testing and treating w/individualized nutrient therapy, my son has been a patient – literally they turned his life around! It’s been over 12 yrs and he is seen once a year/ retested and remains on his nutrient program. They uncovered a severe methylation disorder ( he undermethylates) and corrected other imbalances.. low zinc/ elevated copper among a few others. They are brilliant and amazing! Fairly priced, have helped thousands of patients of all ages
i’m an older individual (about to turn 50), and I’ve had simple motor tics consistently starting around 9 years old. Yes, i till have them all day every day.
while over-the-counters can help, nothing works better than somehow relaxing your temporal mandibular joint(TMJ), otherwise known as jew-clenching. there are many videos online about it
My grand daughter has tics associated with ADHD medication. We finally had to start her on ADHD meds due to the bullying at the school. Now she is head shaking, blinking, and grunting. I sure would like to find a way to help her.
I want a support group, can you help me w that!! I sure hope so!!!
Hi.what kind of tics you child have.My son have vocal one and is very disturbing for him and me as a mum.
My 7 year old daughter has these weird hiccup like tic (they aren’t hiccups but look like it) possibly abdominal tics all day long. It took 3 months of diligence with the following before we got the tics under control and decreased 80%. Our Pedi who is a D.O. Recommended, so I researched. I gave her daily 1 cod liver oil, children Nordic naturals 3 softgels of omega 3, 1 chewable magnesium glycinate, 1 raw B vitamin that contains greens, 1 probiotic with prebiotics (UP4 is the brand, adult gummy, half dose), 1/2 tab suntheanine, 2 gummy smarty pants multi vitamin. This regimen along with healthy food decreased her tics 80%. They returned when we got lazy. Then she got a fever and noticed when we gave her Motrin, the tics completely went away. I did my some research and Pans / pandas came up and said anti inflammatories for 7 days clears up tics from pandas. I gave her Motrin for 1 more week and since for 1 month ongoing the tics have significantly decreased barely noticeable.
My grandson is 7 yrs old and just diagnosed w Tourette’s. Neurology dr.
It is heart breaking for parents and me I am there w him a lot! I know his wants mom to read a couple of books I will send this info to the mom.
Hi Anna, my son has been dealing with tics ongoing for 5 years now. Can I ask if you had to continue with the Motrin after the one week or no? And have they continued to be barely noticeable? My son goes through stages where they decrease then increase again & been trying to figure out the best protocol. He is diagnosed with PANS/pandas. Thank you.
How did you get your son diagnosed with PANS/PANDAS? I am trying to find out how to see if my son is dealing with that. Thank you.
Any way we can share videos? My daughter developed seizures 2 months ago, and 2 weeks later started random hiccup type tics …neuro has no answer for that part
I find that Gluten Free , low sugar intake, mag. as well as Vit D3 help.
How much Nac for children ?
There is no genuine test to analyze transient tic issue and other tic issue. They are hard to analyze, as tics are here and there connected with different conditions. For instance, sensitivities may be a reason for a rehashed sniffing or jerking of the nose.it can be avoided if proper test are done!