Nervous Tics

Information about repetitive, involuntary body movements and nervous tic disorders

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  1. What are Nervous Tics?
  2. What Causes Nervous Tics?
  3. Help for Nervous Tics
  4. More Information on Nervous Tics

What are Nervous Tics?

Nervous tics typically develop in children around age 5, and while many tics are transient — meaning they disappear after a few weeks or months — about 1 in every 100 cases of nervous movement becomes chronic, lasting more than a year and potentially stretching into a life-long problem that affects adulthood.

But what is a tic? Nervous tics are repeated involuntary, repetitive and unwanted contractions of one or more muscle. Many parts of the body can be affected, but tics occur most commonly in the muscles of the face, arms and shoulders. These involuntary jerking movements generally occur in sudden bouts and are almost always an unwelcome experience.

Unlike voluntary muscle jerking, nervous movement is very difficult to control. Some people manage to suppress them for a short time, but it usually takes a lot of concentration and can be an exhausting endeavor. In fact, suppressing tics can be described as trying to suppress a sneeze that really wants to come out. Once released, most people feel a sense of relief. Resisting the urge to express a tic can increase tension and exacerbate the condition1.

Common Nervous Tics List

Nervous movement is classified as either motor or vocal. Common motor tics include:

  • Excessive eye blinking
  • Facial grimaces
  • Jerking movements of the arms, hands, fingers or legs
  • Finger clicking or snapping
  • Banging on things
  • Compulsive touching of people or objects

Some common vocal tics include:

  • Grunting
  • Coughing
  • Throat-clearing
  • Repeating words or phrases1

What Causes Nervous Tics?

The cause of nervous movement is not fully understood, but most research indicates that a number of factors seem to play a role in their onset, including genetics, diet deficiencies (particularly magnesium), anxiety and certain medications. Other factors such as stress, fatigue, illness and excitement or over-stimulation can make nervous body movements worse.

Help for Nervous Tics in Children and Adults

Nervous tics can be very difficult to manage, but it is important to remember that most nervous tic disorders resolve themselves in less than a year. Beyond that, you may start to worry about childhood tics in particular. You might look into the few prescription medications available for the condition, but most come with unwanted side effects that may even be worse than the tics themselves. Much evidence has shown that there are better ways to help relieve nervous movement without unwanted side effects.

As a valuable resource in your strategy for tic disorder treatment, Tic Tamer™ is an all-natural homeopathic medicine that can promote a sense of calm, help relieve the symptoms of both verbal and motor tics, and help reduce the frequency and number of occurrences.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers of Those with Nervous Tics

  • Understand how the tics affect your child or patient and make changes at home and school to best accommodate them.
  • Try not to draw too much attention to your child’s or patient’s tics and don’t make them overly concerned about them. Doing so will make the afflicted person feel more anxious and will more than likely worsen the situation.
  • Keep a record of your child’s or patient’s tics, being careful to note when they get worse and the events that surround them. This may help identify triggers. Be careful not to cause the person more stress – approach this in a way that makes them feel secure.
  • Realize tics are not on purpose. Although tics may frustrate you, do not punish your child or patient for having tics, and try not to show any frustration you may feel. Doing so may increase the afflicted person’s anxiety and cause more tics.
  • Be restrictive about caffeine consumption for your child or patient, including sodas, coffee, tea and chocolate.
  • Practice relaxation and stress-reducing techniques with your child or patient, including deep breathing exercises and other stress-management strategies.
  • Encourage regular exercise. Sports, yoga and outdoor games are great ways to instill a love of exercise that can reduce stress levels, boost self-esteem and possibly reduce tic incidents.
  • Encourage and model a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes sufficient amounts of magnesium from green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, as well as beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
  • Join a support group or reach out to others who may be able to understand and empathize with the difficulties of managing a child or patient with nervous tic disorder1.



1. Leonard, Jayne. "Tic Disorders: Causes, Types, and Diagnosis." Medical News Today. June 16, 2017. Accessed April 01, 2019.


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