Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric, genetic condition that causes people who have it to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics. Tics are involuntary and usually begin in early childhood around age five, but may occur as early as age one or two or as late as age 17. Typically, the first tics to appear are facial tics like eye blinking, nose twitching or grimacing followed by more complex tics involving other parts of the body. Tics can be motor or vocal. The exact cause of TS is unknown. Approximately 1% of the population has TS which can be as high as 3.8%. Studies report that up to 24% of children develop tics during childhood at some point. TS affects all ethnic groups. While TS affects three to four times as many boys as girls, both boys and girls can have mild or severe symptoms. 60% of children with TS also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and up to 30% have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
There is no standard therapy for TS. In case of mild symptoms, treatment for TS is usually limited to education. Medical treatment is considered when symptoms cause psychological distress or physical pain, or interfere with social, academic or professional functioning. Severe and frequent tics are treated with drugs like alpha-2-adrenergic agonists (clonidine), muscle relaxants (baclofen, clonazepam) and dopamine antagonists. Behavioural therapy, Botulinum Toxin Injection, Deep Brain Stimulation are suggested as potential treatments. Massage therapies, exercise, chiropractic therapy and acupuncture have been used to help relieve pain or soreness resulting from tics. Little research or studies are available on the efficacy of these treatments in treating TS symptoms.