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Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?

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  • Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?

    Hi. Our 9 year old son has had an unusual symptom. He will tighten up his body and breathe so oddly that he ends up having difficulty breathing and says his chest hurts. His limbs will be so stiff that when my husband moved him to the couch from a sitting position his arms and legs were in the same position. We couldn't bend his legs at all. It was like rigamortis!
    He has also been talking like a young child not being able to help it. Sometimes he can barely get the words out and wispers, and other times he is loud and almost baby like.
    We are going back to the specialist on Wed, so I will be sure to tell him of these.
    Can anyone offer any idea's or opinions? Thanks! :D

  • #2
    Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?

    Hi Lit

    Welcome to our BB. How long does this last? Is it like an mucle tic or a type of internal tic ie breathing?

    Perhaps his muscles are getting spasms. Sometimes muscles can knot or get a spasm where they cannot relax and this could be due to poor circulation etc.

    Keep us posted as to what happens. I haven't heard this before but other may have.

    TSFC Homepage


    • #3
      Hi Janet

      Thanks for your reply. His episode yesterday lasted 1/2 hour. He eventually loosened up enough to walk along the wall without bending his knees. My husband had to help him up the stairs.
      I've heard of this ocuring as a side effect of medication, but he has never been on medication. There are so many varied tics out there associated with tourettes, but this seemed less like a usual tic that would be described. I looked up dystonia last night and it fits in well with that neurological movement disorder. We will certainly mention it to the specialist on Wed.


      • #4
        Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?

        Hi Lit:

        You didn't say whether your son already was diagnosed with TS. If he has not been, this would be an unusual first presentation of TS. Generally the initial tics are quite mild, usually (but not always) starting with eye-blinking or other facial movements.

        People I have talked with that have dystonic type tics described them as relatively short in duration. Has anyone had experience with longer episodes like Lit describes?
        Forum Moderator


        • #5
          Re Cathy

          Hi. Yes, our son was diagnosed two years ago with tourettes by the same specialist in Toronto we are going back to see on Wed. At the time, it was considered a mild case. We have seen our family doctor to get another referal and he was very certain it has progressed way past mild. I noticed his first tic about 5 years ago which was humming while I read him a bedtime story. It was pretty mild for a while, with just the head jerking, vocal outbursts and limb movements, things of that nature. The last 9 months has been more intense with him shouting, saying bad words that make him cry because he doesn't want to say them, jumping, repeating his words and other things that he hears over and over. His "episodes" started a few months ago first with him making noises, and moving his body uncontrollably like form of seizure until his body hurt. Just recently it has added the limb stiffness feature. Today he had one and he told us after it felt like he was paralyzed. He drools when he has them like he doesn't have control over his mouth muscles.
          I will definatley post about what happens at his appointment on Wed.


          • #6
            Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?


            "He will tighten up his body and breathe so oddly that he ends up having difficulty breathing and says his chest hurts. His limbs will be so stiff"

            My son does this, when he returned to us recently the Doctor's had given him a inhaler like he has asthma. Limbs have always been a problem with him, this includes stiff legs and sometimes fits were he can't walk unless they are straight without bending the knee's. At first we wondered if he was being silly, but the outcome was shocking and real.

            You are right about med's and limb circulation, but without med's maybe we are discribing the same thing. My son is 12 and I saw the breathing thing as young as 10 1/2.

            My son can panic when this happens and his skin can turn colour. I've pulled his arms up over his head before and even used a paper bag. Sometimes out of fit when it happens he hits his breastbone like he involuntarily was holding his breath. We are not sure this is because of TS and do not have any answers yet.


            • #7
              Tourette symptom or possible dystonia?

              I have experienced a breathing tic in the past. About ten years ago I went through a year of having odd breathing patterns and I would gasp for air and then I would often cough and panic. I often ran from my house to the outside to try to catch my breath... I don't know why I guess a fright and flight reaction. As soon as the cold air would hit me I would be able to control my breathing again... It was a bizarre and scary feeling for me as an adult, I can olny imagine what it must feel like as a child.

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