Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurobiological disorder that is characterized by repeated and involuntary body movements and vocalizations called tics. Examples of tics are excessive eye blinking, jerking of the head and limbs, throat clearing, sniffing, grunting, grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and repeating words etc. It is an inheritable disorder with no exact known cause. TS is generally diagnosed in early childhood and can extend into adulthood. Studies report that up to 24% of children develop tics during childhood at some point. TS affects all ethnic groups. It is 3-5 times more common in boys than in girls. 60% of children with TS also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and up to 30% have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
The treatment of TS focuses on identifying and helping the individual manage the symptoms. Most cases of TS are mild, and do not require pharmacological treatment. Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and deep brain stimulation are sufficient in most cases. Severe and frequent tics are treated with drugs like alpha-2-adrenergic agonists (clonidine), muscle relaxants (baclofen, clonazepam) and dopamine antagonists. Massage therapies, exercise, chiropractic therapy and acupuncture have been used as an alternate therapy 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.