Tics are repeated sounds, jerks, or muscle movements, such as in the arms, neck, or face. Repeated clearing of the throat, sniffing, excessive blinking, and shrugging the shoulders are examples of tics. They tend to come and go in spurts. And they may get worse when your child is stressed or tired.
Your child may feel an urge that gets stronger before doing the tic. Your child may be able to control the tic, but only for a short time.
Tics may be mild, or they may be severe enough at times to get in the way of daily activities. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to help manage mild tics. Your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as medicines or therapy, if tics are severe enough to get in the way of your child's daily life. Habit reversal is a kind of therapy that helps your child become aware of tics and do things in place of the tics.
Tics may go away on their own within a year. In some children, tics may become chronic, which means they last longer than a year.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.