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Reading Lynn's post about the dental injury that resulted in increased tics, I feel that I should reopen the TMJ and structural issue.

Our daughter is being treated by Dr. Nordstrom, who invented the ALF design that's supposed to re-align and create balance in the bones of the skull, jaw, neck. (Dr. Sims' and Stack's devices are built on his design).

The theory is (god only knows if it's correct) that imbalances in the way her neck vertebrae sit on top of each other cause constant shifts, as she attempts to balance her head on her neck. This constact micro movement is an irritation to the muscles and ligaments that progresse to the nervous system.

Support for the theory:

1. an ICAT scan we did a year ago shows the neck vertebrae misaligned. the ligaments connecting her head to the neck and shoulders show a process of calcification - as the pressure on them is much bigger than it should be.

2. she can have the wildest tics - wide mouth openings that sometimes last ten seconds each - but a few seconds after she rests her head, they will ALL go away.

3. good in the morning, bad in the afternoon - as the muscles get tired.

4. Even in excelent times, activities that force a very upright posture will triger tics - sitting at the piano, ballet.

5. any activity that results in tight muscels in the neck or back will result in ticcing the next day.

6. she used to have neck problems way before tics started - she used to wake up in the middle of the night with extremely tight neck.

 

What can be attributed to this in general:

1. the common starting age of tics/tourretes - at a time when the skull and jaw grow a lot

2. observations that tics start/aggrevated by dental/orthodontic work - things that change the balance of the skull and jaw bones.

3. tense postures aggravate tics - TV, reading

4. pre-teen years are bad - when they lose and grow teeth

 

 

I know that all of these may have different explanations, but I'm wondering, for example, if anyone else notices immediate relief when the children rest their head.

 

As for our daughter - it's been very good for the first 9 months of treatment, but a few months ago, when she started losing baby molars. we started going downhill very fast (maybe because the device doesnt have anything to hold on to, as the teeth that are about to fall off, and the bone underneath them, grow weak). It's been a tough few months. Dr. Nordstrom may try to build a temporary slightly different device that relies less on the teeth, and more on the cheeks. We'll see.

 

It all makes a lot of sense. I just wish we could see more constant results.

Edited by Dalit
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Hi Dalit,

thanks for posting on this.

 

What did you mean by when she rests her head, the tics cease? do you mean when she lies down?

 

I remember when several of us were persuing this theory and seeing Dr. Sims... We did wind up going to the appt, but I was not convinced it would help our child, since a couple others had gotten the device and it did not seem to help. In the office, the stick test didn't seem to prove my son's tics could stop, so I did not know if I should persue it, and ultimately did not. Really, the 'theory' makes a lot of sense to me too, altho I wish I could understand it much better.

 

But I am very interested in hearing from those who did, so thanks for the update. Do you think the jaw allignment has been corrected? why do you think things started going downhill? I guess I'm thinking if things were good in the current position of the jaw/skull etc.....does the losing of the teeth change that in any way? Also wondering how you get it to stay in that one great position, not sure if I'm explaining that right. Do you think this looks like natural waxing and waning in general or do you think it is directly because of the tmj issues? really hard to know. how old is your girl again?

 

thanks

Faith

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based on my son's history of increased tics (and interestingly, tummy troubles) related to *any* dental stuff since he was very young, plus the fact that cervical chiropractic (ONLY NUCCA trained!) has always helped his tics, I sure would think there is some validity to this theory.

 

But after my own checking after it was initially discussed here, I personally believe it is but one of all the multiple possible "triggers" for tics, including for people who have TS. My concern first time round ws that it may have been perceived as "the" fix for tics/TS

 

With genetic TS, waxing and waning just seems to be an inherent reality. At least that has been our experience.

The good news for us has been that a visit to the chiro, or our acupuncture/biofeedback/naturopath specialist, then helps to reduce that "inherent" waxing and seems to extend the waning periods, at least from our experience. So that may be what you are seeing Dalit.

 

Glad to hear of the progress :) and hope the waxing wanes quickly!

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Chemar, my daughter also has tummy issues that seem to go along in trend with tics. She suffers from a very bloated tummy - no gas, no pain - just very distended, scary at its worst. Her "team" of health care providers say that the nerves that go through the neck/jaw affect the digestive system as well.

 

To answer some of faith's questions: when I said "rest her head" i did mean when she lies down. I just wanted to emphasize the support for the head.

 

My daughter is almost ten years old, and we started this treatment a year ago. It's absolutely much more complicated than the simple widening of the jaw, and she has been treated by a cranial osteopath, that works alongside Dr. Nordstrom, during this year (Chemar - is it similar to the NUCCA chiropracts? sounds like it is), as well had many constant adjustments to her appliance (that also broke a couple of times - we've spent a LOT of money already). The purpose is to slowly promote growth of the jaw to where it's supposed to be, and in the process to hope that the neck will align. When the appliance is adjusted the doctors "feel" her head (osteopathic technique) to find the right height/positioning of the device, where she is most balanced, and sometimes it works wonders. But obviously, she's still growing, and apreviously achieved balance is quickly over, and a new one needs to be found...

 

The "stick" test always sounded too simplistic, but I do remember reading about another dentist in Florida (was it Garcia?) that uses electronic equipment to find that point of balance, and builds the device according to that. I remember reading a few success stories last year. couldn't find it now, though.

 

IF this is indeed the problem, it should be easier to treat in 3 years or so, when she's done growing. We are now just happy for the few weeks at a time when she's at ease, and we hope that we're doing the right thing, and working in the right direction.

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Dalit-

I really think you are on to something. My husband has tourettes and I'm constantly trying to stay up to date on treatments in case my children begin showing signs of it. From everything I've read the structural issues seem to make so much sense. My husbands tics are completely relieved when he rests his head, and his tics started right when he lost his first tooth, he has so many neck problems, and he stretches his mouth very frequently. I've showed him the articles I've read on this and he thought it made perfect sense as well. I'm hoping they keep up the research on it. I contacted TSA to make them aware but they seemed uninterested in pursueing research in that area. Keep us posted on how your daughter is doing.

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Okay, as you all know, my son had a mouth injury lately. Since then, his dentist recommended he always wear a mouth guard playing sports and he's a sports fanatic. Now, when we first started this practice there was boo-ku anxiety (change/didn't like the feel). However, he got used to it pretty quick & I've been noticing when he wears it he doesn't tic.

 

I'm going to keep a diary of this and let you all know the outcome. His dentist told me he never heard of a correlation between tics and TMJ issues, but I'm sure you all feel the same way as me about that... :)

 

Also, as Dalit mentioned in her original post, the dental injury resulted in increased tics, which STILL have not subsided.

 

Why can't tics & TS be easier?!?!?!?!?1

Edited by Lynn777
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I don't know if this will help you, but I suffer from TMJ and mine flairs up with stress(grinding my teeth at night)

for relief from the pain(it is extremly painfull) I see a physio tharpist and I get acupuncture and ultrasound treatments done. I can not say enough at how these treatments take the TMJ away so that I have no more pain.

I am not sure if a child would agree to acupuncture, but ultrasound treatment works amazing on its own as well.

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my son just started orthodontics work and he is using the herbst appliance. The reason he suggested using this was on the way to talk to them about braces my son mentioned that when he brings his lower jaw forward the urge to tic subsides....it was not something he could do long though because it hurt after a bit. We mentioned this to the dentist and Mr. Stacks device and he actually went to orthodontics school with him and he has done alot of research on TMJ...I had it when I was in high school and went to see this same orthodontics but at the time he was just learning and sent me to someone else. Our orthodontics is working up a plann to help his teeth and tics hopefully. He is a believer that the jaw can cause tics so it was a good fit for us to go to him. My son has his top braces on and the device was put on about a week ago. He is doing great. I was worried about them starting up with the braces but so far so good.

What the herbst appliance does is bring the lower jaw forward and he will wear this for about a year and the jaw should grow to the correct bit. Crossing fingers :)

Mary

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Mary, my son (actually both of my sons & me) has an overbite, is this the same idea - bringing the lower jaw forward so it lines up? I'm still trying to figure out how all this TMJ/dental stuff can possibly be connected to tics, but I do know for sure the dental stuff is a trigger for my little guy!

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my son just started orthodontics work and he is using the herbst appliance. The reason he suggested using this was on the way to talk to them about braces my son mentioned that when he brings his lower jaw forward the urge to tic subsides....it was not something he could do long though because it hurt after a bit. We mentioned this to the dentist and Mr. Stacks device and he actually went to orthodontics school with him and he has done alot of research on TMJ...I had it when I was in high school and went to see this same orthodontics but at the time he was just learning and sent me to someone else. Our orthodontics is working up a plann to help his teeth and tics hopefully. He is a believer that the jaw can cause tics so it was a good fit for us to go to him. My son has his top braces on and the device was put on about a week ago. He is doing great. I was worried about them starting up with the braces but so far so good.

What the herbst appliance does is bring the lower jaw forward and he will wear this for about a year and the jaw should grow to the correct bit. Crossing fingers :)

Mary

 

Good Luck! I hope this works. This is what our dentist is talking about as well - bringing the jaw forward.

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