Not All Tourette’s Syndrome Is Genetic

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.

The purpose of NUCCA 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 NUCCA care can be achieved.

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Dr. Armen Manoucherian of Health Edge Family Spinal Care in Glendale, California is a Glendale Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). He has helped many children and adults find natural relief in Glendale, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Pasadena, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Burbank. He is 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. More information can be found on his website at


The Chiropractic Care of an Adolescent with Tourette’s Syndrome Using the Pierce Results System™

Anthony DeMaria, DC, Casen DeMaria, DC, Robert DeMaria, DC, DABCO and Joel Alcantara, DC

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic ~ Volume 2013 ~ Issue 2 ~ Pages 34-38

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Elster E. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care For A Nine-Year-Old Male With Tourette Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Depression, Asthma, Insomnia, and Headaches: A Case Report. J Vert Sublux Res 2003; 2003(1):1 – 11.

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Ferrucci MF, Cardwell AC, Harrison DH. Outcome of Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP®) Protocol on a Patient with Tourette’s Syndrome, Tardive Dyskinesia, CREST Syndrome, and Fatigue. J Vert Sublux Res 2010; 2010(1):1 – 9.

Martinez DAM, Marashi AM. Chiropractic Manipulation, Functional Neurologic and Nutritional Management for the Reduction for Tourette Syndrome Symptoms in a 27 Year Old Woman. Top Integr Health Care 2011;2(2). ID: 2.2005.