Causes and treatment of a nervous tic in a child

Parents are often worried about the behavior of their child – is
Is it the norm or symptom of a serious illness? Therefore, if
a healthy baby suddenly starts blinking his eyes or
licking her lips, then it becomes a cause for panic. At the very
In fact, such nervous tics in children require attention, but are very
common problem of childhood.

A tick is a spasmodic movement of a muscle group that has
stereotypical and non-rhythmic, as well as aggravated by
stress In children, there are several types of twitching,
differing in severity and need of therapy.

Types of ticks

  1. Primary
    • Transient
    • Chronic motor
    • Tiki with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome
  2. Secondary

Transient тик

Under the influence of electrochemical impulses from the central nervous
systems may occur muscle spasms. Most often this happens in
muscles of the face, neck, torso and arms. Transient, or
temporary, these movements are called due to benignity.
Usually this state lasts no more than a year, and more often – several

External manifestations:

  • Licking lips and grimacing
  • Language movements (protruding from the mouth)
  • Blinking and blinking eyes
  • Coughing

The above symptoms are simple motor and vocal.
manifestations. There are also complex ones: throwing hair back,
feeling the items. They встречаются не так часто.нервный тик

Tick ​​properties:

  • the duration of one spasm is extremely small
  • muscle spasms can go one after the other, almost without
  • there is no certain rhythm
  • the nature and intensity of the movements may vary with
  • spasms can be spontaneous, and can be provoked
    by stress
  • children can suppress symptoms for a short time

Chronic tics

Motor or vocal “seizures” lasting longer
years are called chronic. They встречаются гораздо реже
transient. Over time, manifestations may subside, but often these or
other signs remain for life. Many scientists believe that
chronic tics are a mild form of Tourette syndrome, whereas
others put them in a separate category.

Syndrome Gilles de la Tourette

The first symptoms of this disease usually occur in children’s
age up to 15 years. It is based on chronic tics of two types:
motor and voice. The latter often look complicated.
vocal phenomena: barking, grunting, and sometimes screaming
swear words (so called coprolalia). Sometimes there are difficult
motor combinations in the form of jumps, falls, imitations of any kind
activities. It is believed that there is a certain hereditary
predisposition to this condition, and the boys get sick in 3-4
times more often than girls. Total in the world one or another form of the syndrome
about 0.5% of the population suffers.

In addition to the above, children with Tourette syndrome have
increased risk of developing certain conditions:
obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder
and hyperactivity, as well as various behavioral abnormalities.

Withрода этой болезни до сих пор неизвестна. It is believed that such
the result gives a set of hereditary, psychological
factors and environmental influences. There is a separate
a type of syndrome (PANDAS) that appears abruptly after
transferred angina. In this case, the antibodies to the pathogen
(Streptococcus A) may mistakenly attack brain cells, leading to
such consequences. Treatment of angina reduces and completely eliminates
all symptoms of the disease, but re-infection can “wake up”
them again.

Diagnostic criteria for Turret syndrome

  • The combination of motor and speech ticks (not necessarily
    at the same time)
  • Symptoms are present for a year or more.
  • The first signs appear before the age of 18
  • The condition is not associated with the intake of psychoactive substances or
    severe illness

Treatment of Turret syndrome mainly involves behavioral
control and assistance in adaptation. In some cases, when children
too socialized too much, may prescribe therapy
neuroleptics. This is due to the frequent cases of depression and
self-harm in children with severe symptoms. Important to remember,
that the disease can be associated with attention deficit disorder, which
treated by psychostimulants. This therapy worsens the course of the disease,
therefore, a balanced and competent approach is needed. For the most part
patients after adolescence of Tourette syndrome
significantly weaken.

Secondary тики

The name “secondary tics” is not entirely accurate. Term
means twitching of the muscles against the background of the underlying disease. Such
a disease can be:

  • inflammation of the meninges (meningitis)
  • brain (encephalitis)
  • genetic pathology (Huntington’s disease)
  • mental disorders (autism, schizophrenia)

External manifestations are similar to primary spasms (for example,
with a nervous eye tick in a child), but others are added to them


The emergence of twitching with nausea, vomiting, frustration
of consciousness, the inability to move parts of the body – this is the reason for
immediate appeal to the doctor.

Why twitching muscles appear

The main cause of nervous tics in children (or rather, triggering
factor) is psychological disadaptation. There is a serious
change in the lifestyle or family composition of the child with whom he is not
can immediately and easily cope. Such a starting point may be
first trip to kindergarten, school, parents divorce, birth of a brother or
sisters The risk is especially great in children whose closest relatives
had a similar problem or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Not
Improves the situation of frequent and prolonged watching TV or games
on the computer.

Differential diagnosis:

  • Eye disease
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Chorea

Eye disease

Parents and doctors very often forget that the cause of a nervous tic
the eye may be in the organs of vision themselves. For example, wrapped
the eyelash scratches the mucous membrane, the child constantly rubs his eyes and
blinking, forming habitual movement. Even after removal
tick eyelashes can persist for some time, so how to get rid
from the habit immediately quite hard. Therefore, with any twitching
in the area of ​​the eye should consult an optometrist.

Epileptic seizures

Epileptic seizures are paroxysmal changes.
motor activity influenced by signals from the brain. They
occur at least once in life in 10% of all children, but only less than a third
cases due to epilepsy. The attack may occur due to
high fever, illness, choking, stress, never
do not repeat again.

Notкоторые эпиприпадки ни с чем спутать невозможно, так как они
accompanied by a fall, contraction of the muscles of the whole body and shutdown
of consciousness. But part of the attacks has features.

Read about the causes of epilepsy in children here.


The second name for this phenomenon is petit mal. Child
abruptly stops doing what he was doing, stops his gaze
becomes absent, and sometimes there is frequent blinking.
Absansy чаще случаются после 5 лет у девочек, длятся до 30 секунд,
after the attack, the child continues to do what was stopped.
Such petit mal can be repeated very often during the day,
accompanied by changes in the EEG (which does not happen with ticks)

Simple partial seizures

Such seizures look like turning heads and eyes, lasting
10-20 seconds, while speech and consciousness remain intact. Exactly
The latter fact may lead to the idea of ​​ordinary tics. Main
a sign of the epileptic nature of such movements – they can not
control and finish on request.


Chorea – стереотипное «танцующее» движение любой части тела у
baby It can occur in case of poisoning with carbon monoxide drugs.
gas, hereditary diseases of the nervous system, infectious
processes, injuries. Chorea cannot be controlled, although the child
may try to disguise it as a purposeful movement.
An important feature is the constant presence of involuntary
movements, pauses rarely reach 30-60 seconds.

So, in some cases, distinguish benign tics from
The symptoms of a serious illness can be difficult. Therefore have to
be examined by several specialists: an oculist, a psychologist or
a psychiatrist, neurologist or epileptologist who will decide how to treat
тик у baby Sometimes an EEG is required.
(EEG) to exclude epilepsy, MRI or CT
brain, psychological tests. But in most cases
tics are safe, so one pediatrician’s examination is enough to
diagnose and instill peace in parents.

Tick ​​treatment

Choice of treatment for a nervous tic in a child (and its necessity)
depends on the type of disorder.

  • Transient tics do not require treatment. The worst thing they can do
    parents in this situation are to focus on the strange
    поведении baby This approach will make the baby even more
    worry that may aggravate twitching. Main принцип
    therapy – the elimination of the traumatic situation. Is enough
    talk to your child about problems at school, help make contact
    with peers – and tiki immediately leave.
  • Chronic jerking and vocalization, as well as Tourette syndrome
    – conditions requiring therapy. Often enough observation
    a psychologist who will help the child to socialize and not
    purchase complexes. In severe cases, prescribed medication.
    treatment (eg, neuroleptics).
  • Secondary tics are only a symptom of the underlying disease. That’s why
    therapy should be directed to the primary disease. With
    Streptococcal infections are antibiotics for poisoning.
    drugs – the speedy cleansing of the body, with mental illness –
    treatment by a psychiatrist.


Notвозможно предсказать появление у ребенка подергивания мышц или
vocal cramps, although to some extent they occur in 25% of all
children. But there are quite effective ways to reduce this risk or
speed up the recovery process. For prevention you need:

  • discuss with the child all his problems
  • be especially attentive to the baby when changing his usual
  • support his desire to be friends with peers
  • when symptoms of nervous tick in children – do not loop
    attention to them and try to distract
  • organize the correct mode of work and rest
  • to diversify the daily activities of the child (leisure, sports,
    study, etc.)
  • limit watching television and playing on

And finally, the most important rule – to love your baby so
what he is. In this case, all problems will be
temporary, easily solvable, and will not lead to chronic
mental disorder.

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