Researchers generally consider Tourette’s syndrome to be a genetic disorder (TS vulnerability is transmitted from one generation to the next), approximately 15% of TS patients do not show genetic susceptibility (no genetic links were found). In addition, individual variations in character, course, and degree of severity of TS cannot be explained by genetic explanations alone.
Consequently, researchers have focused upon stressful events during perinatal or early life that may trigger the onset of TS. Traumatic head injury (during birth, falls, accidents, etc.) has been implicated as a possible trigger of TS. Evidence supports that trauma (in particular mild concussive injury to the head, neck or upper back) increases the risk of TS onset. Following the trauma, tics can be triggered immediately or can take months or years to develop.
A Possible Traumatic Cause
New research appearing in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health supports a possible traumatic cause. A 14-year-old male with Tourette’s Syndrome had missed school the previous two days prior to presenting to the clinic due to the severity of his motor tics, migraine headaches and severe “fatigue”.
The patient’s symptoms were so severe it was indicated that he was having 1,000 “violent” motor tics a day that consisted of whipping his head involuntarily in flexion and extension, which also contributed to his fatigue.
The patient’s migraine headaches (which occurred daily) were attributed as resulting from these motor tics. The patient was taking 6 Ibuprofen pills, 10 mgs of Abilify® (aripiprazole), and 1mg of Orap® (Pimozide) per day.
Physical examination which included thermal and infrared thermography and radiological examination demonstrated sites of spinal misalignments likely caused by trauma. Over the course of 30 patient visits in a period of 5 months, dramatic reductions were reported in the amount of tics experienced daily. The total number of tics were reduced from 1,000 a day to 30-35 tics per day. The patient’s dependence on Ibuprofuen was eliminated and his medication dosage (i.e., Abilify and Pimozide) was reduced by his medical provider.
This is not the first time that a person with Tourette’s syndrome has received dramatic results with this type of care (see references below). For instance, Dr. Erin Elster reports on 3 boys diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, Age 9, 15 and 7, who all had tremendous results with upper cervical chiropractic.
Next time we will review these 3 cases and talk more about the type of care they received.
The purpose of Upper Cervical is to reverse the traumatically induced upper neck injury; thereby reducing irritation to the injured nerves in the central nervous system. While many TS sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, birth trauma, auto accidents or falls, some do not. In certain pediatric cases, the injury can occur from the normal birthing process. An upper cervical examination is necessary in each individual’s case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from Upper Cervical care can be achieved.
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Dr. Pete Tsiglieris of Advanced Spinal Care in Redwood City, California is an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Sunnyvale. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain and weakness. More information can be found on our website at http://www.bayareanuccacare.com/