Egoscue and Tourette’s

I’ve been blessed over my years with Egoscue to work with a wide variety of clients. I’ve worked with the young (I’ve had a 21-month old in the clinic) and old (my oldest “new” client was 96), male and female, athletes and non-athletes. I’ve worked with Cerebral Palsy clients. I’ve worked with Down Syndrome clients. And now I can add to the list a Tourette’s client.

I got a call from a long-time client about a month ago. He wanted to schedule an appointment for his nine-year-old daughter who was suffering from Tourette Syndrome. In case you aren’t familiar with Tourette’s, it’s a condition where the client presents with some sort of tic–facial or body–and a vocal tic. While my client didn’t have any vocal tics, she definitely had facial and body tics. Her dad had first noticed she would cock her head to one side and roll it back and forth. However, rather than it being a “stretching”-type motion–something you and I might do–he commented that it looked more forced, as if involuntary. Shortly after that, she started with facial ticks–blinking, twitching, and moving her mouth.

I believe the tics associated with Tourette’s to be postural at their root. When you think about tics and twitches–involuntary muscle movement–you have to remember that nerves send signals to the muscles to engage. Basically, for this little girl, her circuit board was going haywire. Her muscles were getting signals sent to them continually and at times when signals didn’t need to be sent.

Her dad informed me that her facial tics had been significantly alleviated through chiropractic work. However, while the chiropractic visits helped, he noted that her body didn’t hold the work the chiropractor that had been done. This was totally logical in my book. Muscles tell your bones what to do, and while the bones are in a new position after the adjustment, if there’s not new muscle work to reinforce the new bone position, the muscles will pull the bones back to their old position and the symptoms will return.

While his daughter’s facial tics had greatly improved, she was now developing a new upper-body tic. She would incessantly tighten her arms and upper body, much the same way someone would if they were frustrated with someone or something. She was exhausted all the timeYOU try tightening your whole upper body, as hard as you can, two to three times per minute for the entire time you’re awake, and tell me how your energy level is. She had dark circles under her eyes, and was tired of being tired!

By assessing her structural dysfunctions and compensations (yes, they can happen at 9 years old), I was able to determine that the root cause of her Tourette’s was an upper spine that had locked down to help stabilize for hyper-mobile shoulders. The end result was that her nervous system was “on” all the time. Signals were continually being sent to her upper back that the muscles needed to engage to help keep her upright.

Fast-forward four weeks, and I’m happy to report that her Tourette’s symptoms are almost completely gone. She reported to me on her last visit that she now only twitches/contracts her upper body four to five times a day. Remember that this is down from two to three times per minute. Isn’t the body AMAZING? Symptoms are nothing more than signals, and her body was merely attempting to let her know that something wasn’t quite right. She was out of balance, and her body was letting her know through Tourette’s. Absolutely amazing. The work she’s doing now will impact her life 20, 30, even 80 years from now more than she knows. 

QUESTION: Do you have a condition that you’ve been told you just have to live with it?