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Tics stop when sick - anyone else experience?

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Hi there - 

My DS (9) came down with a tic a year ago, after a long respiratory illness.  He would clear his throat often, then it moved to a tic where he looked like he was slowly stretching his neck.  The whole time he would also say his body needed to stretch, manifesting itself in him standing in awkward positions, sometimes with his hand on his hip, looking like he was almost trying to stop his muscles from moving.  We talked to the doctor and she said it was probably just a transient tic and it would stop.  We also had him checked for PANDAS and that was ruled out.

Then last fall, all tics seemed to stop.  Earlier this year, he came down with another respiratory thing.  Shortly after, he began clearing his throat, and as of late, he was making a slight high pitch wheezing noise and moving his neck just slightly (most couldn't tell this was going on, but we could) saying he was also "clearing his throat." 

Then a couple days ago, he came down with another respiratory thing (this is always what he gets when he gets sick) and all of the movement and wheezing noises stopped.  Like, totally stopped. His body looks relaxed (not like his muscles are tense) and he's not making any noises other than coughing.  We're holding our breath that this continues but find the timing very strange.  I'd think they'd get worse when a kid is sick.  Is this a normal phenomenon?   

Edited by 509momof2
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My DS14 had severe PANS/PANDAS, and I would also notice that his tics and OCD would stop when he was sick. My theory (I have no medical background) was that his immune system was attacking the virus or infection, and instead of attacking his brain.  

As for having PANDAS ruled out...PANDAS/PANS was “ruled out” for my son by multiple doctors over a five year period.  Most from a major Chicago children’s hospital.  It wasn’t until he was diagnosed and treated by an integrative psychiatrist that he recovered.  My DS had debilitating OCD and moderate tics...one of the most severe PANDAS/PANS cases of which I am aware.  He has completely recovered from tics and 90% recovered from OCD, after monthly IVIG.


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@maryangela  WOW, thanks for this information.  My husband was never on board with the PANDAS idea (still isn't, when I share the with him, he'll probably roll his eyes and call me paranoid!), but I still wonder if that has something to do with this. My nephew has TS and my son's tics don't look at all like his, although I understand tics are very variable from kid to kid.  I'm so glad your son is almost fully recovered!  

The fact that my son's movements started after a long illness and they wax and wane based on his illness, he gets respiratory issues probably more than most kids (we may look at undiagnosed food sensitivities), he has really bad dark circles under his eyes that seem to be worse the days he's ticcing more, and all of his movements center on his head and neck and generally sound like he's clearing his throat, lead my gut to say that there's underlying illness or an immune issue involved.  

I would love to know where you took your son.  Our traditional pediatrician continues to tell us that its nothing to worry about, and his aren't super severe so it's easy to brush it off. After talking with a friend who's DD was diagnosed with severe PANDAS, we saw Dr. Kovacevic in Lisle but we didn't come to any conclusion.  Our DS has no psychological issues (does great in school, no anxiety, fears, OCD, ADHD, etc) and the typical antibiotics and steroid course didn't make a difference, so that steered us away from PANDAS.  We were told the steroids and antibiotics would stop his tics but they didn't. And our pediatrician doesn't believe in PANDAS (which I don't understand) so we just stopped heading in that direction.

Thanks for reaching out.  Hoping to hear from others who have seen the same thing.

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My son sees Donald Raden, MD in Highwood, IL. I’m not sure if tics alone could be considered PANDAS and I don’t know much at all about TS, but I assume your son’s tics could have a physiological cause.  I know my DS’s tics decreased when treated for yeast.  He also improved after taking an anti parasitic herb.  Seems crazy, but it’s working.  The Cunningham Panel (blood test) should show if there’s an autoimmune immune component, I think   


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