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will these tics ever go away?


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im New here.  My 9 yo son was diagnosed with minor tics a few weeks ago. It started in November. Head twitch and throat clearing. This week face grimace added. Neurologist said he would probably grow out of it. Went to ND and did a food sensitivities test. We are waiting on results. Have started GF diet for now but hoping for more info when get food sensitivities test back.  Did Epsom salt bath this week but 2nd day he had a bit of a rash on his back so stopped that. Will try Nature Calm this weekend. 

I started charting food this week. I’m feeling overwhelmed and saddened that in the last week it’s not getting better with the GF changes.  

Do most people eventually find something that works to help with the tics? When the changes occur, do they stay? I just need some hope. 

Thanks in advance. 

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Hi mlee, and welcome to the forums. I'm sorry that your son has been having some tics. Seeking help from a good naturopathic doctor is a great step to take. I hope you will let us know what foods come up as problematic. That should give you some good direction.  You can also ask this person for suggestions on nutrient supplements.

Charting is also a terrific step, though I know it can seem overwhelming, as you say. It will get easier with time. Keep it up--but also, only take on as much as you can without stressing yourself too much. 

If your son has a problem with gluten-- and not everyone with tics does -- it can take some time for improvement to be seen. I would give it a couple of weeks, and even then do not expect a dramatic change immediately as it can be a gradual change, and there may be other issues going on as well. 

Our organization has a new book out on tracking down triggers for tics. You might find it useful.  Also, I think it would encourage you, because you asked if people are able to get the tics under control, and yes, many do and some of their accounts are in this book. But it can take a comprehensive effort, not just one or two things that usually bring about all the change. 

Have you already had a chance to make other changes in the diet like avoiding artificial colors, flavors and preservatives in food and drink? 

What we have found is that a three-pronged approach can often help:  1) dietary change, 2) avoiding allergens (is your child or immediate family allergic?) and 3) avoiding toxic products typically used in the home like bleach, scented products, pesticides.  

In addition to the above, you want to be sure there is not an underlying infection.

Please get back to us and let us know a little more  and also what the naturopath suggests about the food testing. And you should definitely have hope! You have already taken some very positive steps. :)

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Thanks so much for your response Sheila!


So far this week, we have just implemented, NO Gluten, NO MSG, NO artificial colors, and NO/Low Salicylates. Supplementing Natural Calm unflavored 2x/day. He's a picky eater, so doing our best. We did Epsom Salt baths 2x, and the 1st time his cheeks were really red and the 2nd time, he had a little rash on his back, so we stopped them immediately. I'm thinking it's the sulpher. Could a sulpher issue be a sign of something else?


We go back to the Naturopath in 1.5 weeks to see the results of the blood test for food sensitivities test. But I know there could still be intolerances/sensitivities that wouldn't show up. The next day I have an appointment with a nutritionist who came recommended to me. I think she will be most helpful.


I just purchased your books, thank you!


How do I find out if there is any underlying infection? What test would that be? Is that with a traditional pediatrician or a naturopath? What type of infection?


Also...are there good toothpaste and shampoo recommendations out there? Also, do most kids just drink water or some milk type while doing a modified diet?


Thank you Sheila. Just getting responses from people is so helpful and supportive. I really appreciate it!



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Hi Marie,  For starters, your pediatrician or naturopath could order blood tests to look for a bacterial or fungal infection. But I am not saying you need that, it is a decision the practitioner could make, and he or she might decide on other types of tests as well at some point.

Did your son have a cold, sore throat or any illness before the tics started in November? 

Can you think of anything that changed in November--home, school, activities? And does he have allergies, or do you have them in your family?

If your naturopath is experienced with food sensitivities, you might want to let that person guide you on diet at first, to avoid frustration at your end or feeling overwhelmed.  For milks, a lot of people find that types like almond, almond/coconut, or rice milk can take the place of regular milk. You can get more ideas from your practitioner when you go for test results.

How is your journal keeping going--have you been able to note any positive change yet? Remember that everything does not revolve around diet only, although it can certainly be a major, important player!


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On 2/15/2018 at 3:29 PM, mlee said:

Also...are there good toothpaste and shampoo recommendations out there? Also, do most kids just drink water or some milk type while doing a modified diet?

We use a toothpaste made by Tom's of Maine that makes a childrens toothpaste dye and preservative free. Also Dial makes a Kids hair and body wash that is tear free and dye free. We get ours at Walmart but i think most major retailers have it. 

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Thanks for the toothpaste recommendation Matt.

Sheila - thank you for your response too. I am looking back through my online calendar to see what was going on in that November time period.


So, we met with the Naturopath on Monday and she gave us the results of my son's food intolerance blood test. Results indicated that he is intolerant of all dairy, all eggs, citrus fruit, wheat and gluten! All the big ones. She helped us navigate the results. She also did a Rapid Strep test which came back negative, but she is also doing the longer one and will advise the results. If positive, there are some other tests she wants to run. She wants to see him again in 3 weeks to see how he's doing on the food elimination diet.

The next day I met with a nutritionist and she helped me come up with a food plan for my son while removing all the intolerant foods listed on the blood test results. She also recommended multivitamins, probiotic, vitamin D and fish oil for him. In regards to the Multi and Probiotic she had to find ones there were dairy and gluten free. I left hopeful with many good food ideas that fall within his allowed foods. She says she would like to go at least 3 months on this diet before we introduce back any of the foods. The naturopath says 3 weeks. The nutritionist said let's review in 3 months and before that as needed. I tend to think 3 months is a good time as it will take awhile for results to be seen.


So, we are hopeful that his tics will get better. At what point do people tell if diet changes are helpful? That is, when do most people see results? I read the pinned post and it looked to me anywhere from 1 week to 2 months? Given he has so many intolerances, I would think it could take a few months. What do you think?

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mlee, the time frame can sometimes depend on what someone is intolerant of but typically a few weeks should be  good time to start seeing progress. It has been a week for you now -- are you seeing any change?

It is good you could have someone develop an eating plan, it can be hard to figure out on your own when you have some classic (common) items as you do. We will be anxious to learn more -- and what aspects of the new diet are most challenging or hopefully easier than you expected.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Things seem to slowly be getting better. He got sick so that set us back a bit. We are on track now. We have adjusted the diet and are waiting slowly for the gut to heal. He's been a real trooper. :)  Since he is intolerant to gluten, wheat, garlic, citrus, dairy and eggs, I know it can take awhile to get the gut back in sync. He's been tested for strep and it's negative. I think we are going to get a CBC panel done and one other test. I have to check. We are also doing a probiotic and natural calm. 

His tics are head twitch (like flicking his hair), eye roll and throat clearing or humming. I feel like the head twitch and the eye roll are getting better. The throat clearing/humming is slightly better. Is there something that works better for vocal tics?

Overall he is looking healthier! I look back at photos from this winter and he had such dark circles under his eyes and he was tired. His color is back and the dark circles are going away.

So, as I was thinking back to this fall, I think my son's flu shot may have triggered his head tic initially (1st tic)? Has this happened to anybody before? We've never had an issue with vaccines before. But, now that I know he is intolerant to eggs, and I believe there are some eggs in the flu shot, this could have overloaded his system? What can we do?



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Happy to hear your son is improving!  We have had a similiar experience

My son had a some motor tics flare up for about a week after his flu shot this past fall.  They werent very pronounced but were noticeable  

He also gets allergy shots and it caused a big increase with motor and vocal tics when we increased the frequnecy and serum concentration. This lasted for a couple of months.  It was a tough time for him.  

He had dark circles under his eyes and was very pale as well. He was always very restless during his sleep... kicking his legs.  We found out that his iron levels (ferritin level) was very low. He is taking an iron supplement now and his quality of sleep has improved greatly. 

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