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One year into natural approach


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I wanted to briefly share our experiences after 1 year of using natural supplements to address our son's tic issues.


On August 10 of last year, I posted my first desperate message asking for guidance. At the time, I was completely obsessed with my son's tic onset, and fairly well depressed as well. I couldn't eat or sleep well. My work was affected. So firstly, my sincere thanks to everyone on this board who, by sharing advice and concerns of their own, have helped my family and I to learn some important things and to deal with some difficult times.


Of course, everyone goes about dealing with their situations differently. Matters like what help is available and insurance coverage, not to mention the uniqueness of each child's body chemistry, means that there is no simple answer to addressing tics. That said, here's what we've done, what has changed, etc.


Tic issues that developed over the course of Spring 10 and which increased by mid summer, to the point that we needed to address them: neck jerk, arm jerk, breathing tic, numerous other tics (facial, finger, ocd-type sensory things, etc.) that were less noticeable to others but which seemed to just keep "piling on," so to speak.


Traditional Medical help: Pediatric neurologist 1 (several years earlier when a single tic came, again in the Spring, and went away a couple of months later), Ped. Psych. (same time), Ped. Neur. 2 (just last summer).


Traditional Medical advice: If tics become a bother, you can medicate. Ped. Neur. 2 went so far as to say meds. were the only way, and that any other approach was simply quackery. (Needless to say, my faith in the traditional medical establishment has dwindled over the past year to almost 0.)


So, with a significant amount of reading and lots of worrying, ...


1) We drastically modified our son's diet. We got medical help to identify food sensitivities. With this information, we eliminated some of the red flag foods, and we started a rotation diet with some of the lesser offenders. We ended up going mostly organic, but by coincidence more than by plan. When one starts reading labels, one finds that it is pretty much the expensive organic style products that avoid the multitude of unnecessary and potentially toxic artificial and preservative indgredients.


Changing the diet was undoubtedly the hardest part of our changes. It takes lots of time and energy to do and causes lots of stress and costs money. Eventually, though, it simply becomes what you do. We still read labels, and make mistakes with some of our purchases; my wife and my son complain ocassionally about the diet's limitations; but it's now a manageable part of our lives, with a payoff that outweighs the inconveniences.


2) We started supplementing. We received some alternative medical help with supplementation, very little of which we stuck with, and we have experimented a little on our own, mostly for naught. What we have come to rely on are a few mainstays that are pretty much those that are referred to so commonly on this forum. a) magnesium - Natural Calm (powder form), b ) a potent multivitamin (Kirkman Spectrum Complete (hypoallergeic, powder form); c) occasionally (in addition to the dosages contained in the multi): probiotic, inositol, vitamin D3, epsom salt baths.


What we have found:


1) With time (2-3 months), the diet and the mg had a noticeably positive effect, to the point that the less noticeable tics were gone, the arm jerk was almost completely gone, and the neck jerk was far less noticeable, albeit still present. It still is the tic that lets us know when waxing and waning is occurring.


2) The addition of the potent multivitamin, which occured a few months into our journey, had an even more pronounced effect on top of what we had already noticed with the dietary modifications. To an extent, we stopped being concerned about his tics by January, and even laxed up a little bit on some of his dietary restrictions.


3) With the Summer came an elevation in tic activity. Because we see a lot more of him? I don't think this is the case, since we see plenty of him evenings and weekends during the school year, and we hadn't picked up on the increase then. Chlorine? Doesn't swim much. Allergies? ...


4) We will test for inhalent sensitivies in the Fall. We skipped these tests last year because, quite frankly, his arms looked like pin cushions for a month. Now, I suspect that there is some environmental element that presents itself in the Spring, causing an increase in tics. We'll see as the fall comes.


5) We should be more diligent with probiotics / gut health. No more slacking on the diet. Continued search for the ingredient/s in his multi that made such a significant difference. I experimented with Taurine (for reasons associated with some tests we had done last fall), and found that there was an adverse effect with that. I'll be cautious, but continue to ask questions and search for answers.


We have all learned a lot over the course of the past year. After a few months I was back to my normal old self (for better or worse). And importantly, we (I should say I -- other family members have been far less stressed by all these things than I have) have learned to accept the issues that we must deal with. Making conscious, deliberate changes did much to help us, too.



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Well done Chris! This is such a nice clear and concise summary of your evolving to manage his tics and with it your stress...good to hear things are still in a good place. At some point maybe I will add our journey's summary too :) For others reading though I completely agree with your main positive changes...they are the same for us

1)great multi

2)Natural Calm (original)

and the others are used more as needed, but the clean diet etc. can not be denied for us no matter what traditional dr's say

I found with everything the more simple and natural, the better...easier to keep your sanity too!


We also have had some rises this summer, but video games at friends and chlorine exposure do have their impact for him, heat can still be a trigger as well but all in all he and we are in a good place as well.


Hard to believe we're here now when reading back to our original posts!!!! :D



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Thanks Chris for your report. You summarised it so well. I am glad to hear things are going better for your family.


We too have noticed a huge improvement in my daughters tics and her ADHD. We stick to a diet free of artifical colours, flavours etc. We avoid milk all together and rotate other dairy. We also use the clean multi, magnesium and a bunch of other supplements - but I think the others help with her ADHD more. We also realised that citrus - I was mixing her vitamins in orange juice - seems to really bother her. When I removed that - a stubborn tic finally went away.


We have also noticed an increase of tics this summer. We don't have a pool. I was wondering if it is because we are seeing more of her - but I don't think so - she even mentioned that her tics are worse. I think she thrives on schedule and we are on no schedule right now. She isn't getting her supplements at a consistent time either - like she does in the school year. Who knows why - but it is nice to finally be able to relax and think - that sucks - her tics are worse right now, rather than having that overwhelming feeling of anxiety I've had in the past.


Thanks again for your update!

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