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Tic Triggers

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  • Tic Triggers

    Has anyone noticed any specific triggers that set their tics off?

    I was in a doctor's office yesterday (my fianc?e injured her hand) that had some interestingly intense flourescent lighting. My tics went nuts while I was in there, and dropped down immediately after leaving. It was nuts.

    I've heard that flourescent lights can effect tics. Has anyone else experienced that first-hand?

    I've heard that other visual stimuli, like the flicker frequency of CRT displays (TV tubes, computer monitors) can also effect tics, although I haven't noticed much of a change going from a CRT monitor to a flat-screen at work or at home.
    Colin

  • #2
    Tic Triggers

    I have not heard of light or light frequency triggers for Tourette Tics, but is something worthy of some research, Cailean.

    Being afflicted with migraine, I can attest to the fact that light and light frequency such as sulight filckering through branches while driving can trigger a migraine.

    Will be interested in hearing about he experiences of others.
    Steve

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

    Tourette Canada Homepage
    If you enjoy the TC Forum, please consider a Tourette Canada membership
    Please visit our sister Forum: Psychlinks Psychology and Mental Health Support Forum

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    • #3
      Tic Triggers

      Fluorescent lights will trigger migraines and tics with me. I have also found out now that gluten triggers tics with me! I saw my homeopath today, the first time since being totally off gluten, and she said that my tics have noticably decreased. I have also found that when I accidentally glutened myself last week, my tics were so much worse for a couple of days.

      I also found that I had an easier time sitting still and paying attention in church, without constantly ticcing.

      Stress will trigger tics with me as well, as will loud noise (which qualifies as a form of stress with me), and seeing others tic makes me tic as well.
      German citizen, married to a Canadian for 28 years, four daughters, one son, eight grandchildren (and one on the way).

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      • #4
        Tic Triggers

        I have problems when someone is yelling. I was at a computer warehouse sale and a guy kept yelling about his product and just the way he was yelling, I would head twitch each time but calmed down after I left. It seemed weird.
        The other day at a local grocery store, I saw a rack with books on it and one of them said, "pregancy for dummies"............

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        • #5
          Tic Triggers

          Adam:

          That is a common response for my son. Maybe the loud sound increases anxiety...I am not sure.

          I just see what it does to my son. When there is to much going on in the background, we leave to ease the moment.

          Shopping nearly at closing works well for us at the mall. The visit is short and not as loud.
          PJK

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          • #6
            Tic Triggers

            Hey Cailean,

            I hate flourescent lights for the very same reason! Took me ages to figure out why my tics went crazy every time I set foot in Winners, or a Wal-Mart or something. Now I just avoid them when possible (and living in a big city makes that pretty easy). Although I find that, like other triggers, the knowledge that they're going to affect me makes it easier for me to deal with it when I have to.

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            • #7
              Flourescent Lights at School

              They have flourescent lights at my son's school. His tics are worse there, so is there something I could do to replace the lighting? Might it affect ADD? Flourescent lights give me headaches and I don't have TS, I don't know how people are around them all the time. Steph

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              • #8
                Tic Triggers

                I find flourescent lighting annoying in any situation. I wouldn't be suprised if it affected concentration and contributed to ADD symptoms.

                I don't know if there's anything you can really do to replace the lighting, unless the difference is obviously severe. Your son's tics are likely to be worse at school anyways, because it's generally a less comfortable situation where anxiety and other triggers will also contribute.

                If you're able to isolate flourescent lighting as a definite, dramatic trigger, then I'd talk to the school and see if they do have any alternatives. But you may find that there's much more to it.
                Colin

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                • #9
                  Tic Triggers

                  Cailean:

                  You are right, the school can not do but so much. We have tried moving my son closer to natural light (large windows). Teachers prefer to have children with concerns closer to the front or their own desk.

                  After pulling him away from the front or center of the room, the tics were a bit better but I do not know of anyway you can replace Fluorescent lighting with soft incandescent without a lot of cost to the schools.
                  PJK

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                  • #10
                    Tic Triggers

                    TS+ symptoms are all affected to a smaller or greater degree by the amount of effort your nervous system can put into controlling or counteracting them. Your body has only so much energy / effort to allocate. When you take in caffeine, sugar, synthetic foods, allergens (for you), or you don't get enough sleep, exercise, water, protein, etc., your nervous system has to counteract these issues, and that takes away from the allocation for fighting the tics and other symptoms.

                    Does that make sense? When you are well rested and well fed & watered (naigh, naigh) you can more easily control your symptoms, or not let them get started. The more you stress your body in any of a thousand small front cover of "Prevention" magazine ways, the less you can control the TS+ stuff. I believe this is a very simple model, that is still true.

                    I have been saying for years that stuff that makes normal people stressed or poopy or tired or jittery affects people with TS+ also, just much, much more, like by an order of magnitude (x10) or two (x100). What makes "normal" people a little bit cranky makes us candidates for the next Stephen King movie. Of course, the 80% rule applies here. I am sure there are some TS+ folks out there who really don't know what we're talking about. Good for them. Now go away before you stress me out, being all cheerful and such...

                    ps: um, I hate to contradict myself, but I also see that there is some kind of rhythm to the symptoms, too. I think it is lunar based (28 days) because that is the obvious thing, since it affects so much else. However, knowing our luck, it is a 17.4 day cycle except when Mars is near Earth, and then it is 18.2 days. Oh, well.
                    Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
                    http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

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                    • #11
                      Tic Triggers

                      I find clothing and stuff to be more 'trigger-ish' than lights or anything. But when I go to a club, the loud music and flashing lights seem to get me ticcing. But then again, I LOVE dance clubs so I may just be ticcing more because I'm in a great mood. *shrug?*

                      But heavy jackets will get me shoulder shrugging. sunglasses bring out a tic where I have to gently bang the glasses up and down on the bridge of my nose. Jeans will get me doing abdominal muscle tensing and manipulation because of the way the waist of the jeans rub, ... etc..

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                      • #12
                        Tic Triggers

                        What makes "normal" people a little bit cranky makes us candidates for the next Stephen King movie. Of course, the 80% rule applies here.
                        I am part of that 80% that makes me a "candidate for the next Stephen King movie". When I am stressed or overwhelmed I have to go for a walk; I need to just get away and go for a walk or be outside. I don't really think about what's wrong on the walks, I just sort of walk and it calms me down. Obviously going for a walk or outside is not always a possibility when I am upset or overly stressed, and it is rather impracticle even when it is a possibility. Does anyone have any ideas or things that they do that are easier and more practicle that i could give a try? Such as a breathing excercise or whatever. I am open to anything at this point. Thanks!
                        Steph
                        ~be a miracle~

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                        • #13
                          Tic Triggers

                          Lots going on here:

                          I find that what I like makes me tic LESS. I am "in the Zone" so to speak. Same thing with Girlfriends, actually. Looking back, my symptoms were worse with the ones you would expect to make them worse, knowing what I know now. People who are good for me make my symptoms better, 80% of the time. Less anxiety is the key...

                          Going to clubs or concerts makes my tics very different. They seem to react to the incredibly loud bass of the music. Sometimes I wonder if the tics are 'jealous' and competing. Great.

                          Jeans are NOT comfortable. This is a delusion brought on by magazine and television advertising. The TS+ just makes it SO OBVIOUS to us. Me, I am saving old worn out chinos (business casual slacks - like Dockers) and using those for work and messes like moving furniture and painting. They are more comfortable in the fabric, they 'grate' less, and I've already worn them out, so no loss of $ or fashion. Recycling at it's best, baby. I also find that chinos have roomier pockets (good for house hold work and such) and and are more airy - breathable, whatever you call it.

                          As far as stress relief is concerned, BEFORE is the key. Relieve the stress before the need. I recommend (children, please consult your parents on these) punching an official punching bag - they make floor models with water-filled bases now; chopping wood - it is so good for your proprioception, but only do this if it is 100% safe to do so; my Mom's favorite (I hope this ain't copyrighted stuff) is to take an old tennis racket and hit a pillow FLAT - the strings hit the pillow and make a WHOMPing noise that is so awesome it just feels good; swimming; running; martial arts (Japanese or Korean, not western).

                          Arts and crafts are good for soothing the mind, but that is NOT what we are talking about here. You need to give the body a reason to want to calm down. I don't tic while chopping wood. My body is pretty busy dealing with the axe and the wood, too busy to tic. Seriously, it works. Punching a bag is the same thing - the feel of my fist on a leather bag is too large and loud for my body to ignore.
                          Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
                          http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tic Triggers

                            Darin:

                            My son used to have a hanging punching bag (tear shape kind) in the garage for the same reason. Both my son and step-son used it. (step-son had ADD growing up, ODD issues without diagnosis)

                            Since we have lived here we have not reinstalled it. But good idea.

                            As a small child I used a clown bag that sits on the floor and rocks when you hit it.

                            Kick boxing is good way to release some energy too.
                            PJK

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                            • #15
                              Tic Triggers

                              I recommend running... great way to get out tension, and the constant change of scenery of cross-country running makes it tolerable for those with ADD. :P

                              Warning: Runner's High may increase active tics and hyperactivity. :lol:
                              Colin

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