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Facial Tics --- Causes and Top 7
Natural Remedies
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Last updated September 22, 2016 (originally published May 27, 2014)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist







Facial tics can be distressing to the sufferer, and their family
and friends. If your child has a tic or a twitch – and 5
percent of children and adolescents suffer from chronic tics
according to the UCLA School of Medicine – you may worry
about Tourette’s syndrome or brain damage.

But usually tics are not a sign of something so serious. Many
people at some point have a spasm-like twitch of a muscle in
their face – the eyelids, the lips, or the forehead, for
example. In most cases, facial tics are harmless and they go
away. What causes a facial tic? Can facial tics be prevented?
Are there any natural remedies for getting rid of facial tics?

What are the Symptoms of Facial Tics?

Facial tics are usually classed as simple motor tics and involve
a repeated, spasm-like muscle movement or expression such
as eye blinking, mouth twitching, squinting, grimacing,
twitching the head, or nose wrinkling. The severity of a tic
varies with the individual – some are hardly noticeable. Most
tics cannot be controlled although you can try to suppress a
tic – usually with little success as discomfort grows until the
tic occurs. Tics normally stop while you sleep and are less
prevalent when you are absorbed in an activity.

What Are the Causes of Facial Tics?

No one is really sure why tics occur or why they affect
certain people more than others. Facial tics are a symptom of
certain disorders, or they can be caused by stress or sleep
deprivation.

Transient tic disorder is when the facial tics are present
every day for less than a year, and some experts believe it is
a mild form of Tourette’s syndrome.

Chronic tic disorder lasts for more than a year and may also
occur during sleep. Tourette’s syndrome is a condition that
begins in childhood and the tics tend to be more defined and
purposeful – if you only suffer from facial tics you are
unlikely to have Tourette’s syndrome as this diagnosis
always includes vocal tics.

Other things that can cause facial tics include fatigue, heat,
excitement, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and some stimulant
medications.

Many people wrongly confuse having facial or body tic
conditions with evidence of Parkinson's disease or
dyskinesia. Though the conditions may seem similar, the
neurological pathways that cause Parkinson's are different
from those that cause simple tics, according to
Johns
Hopkins School of Medicine. Facial tics may, with time, go
away on their own. Parkinson's, on the other hand, is a
progressive disease that will only get worse with time. Also,
facial and body tics, even when they affect your throats, will
not make you lose consciousness or have a seizure.


In many cases, facial tics go away on their own within a
short space of time and require no treatment.

However, if the tics are causing self-consciousness or
interfering with everyday life, some of these 7 scientifically-
tested natural remedies may be used.

7 Natural Remedies for Facial Tics






























1. Awareness Training Helps Treat Facial Tics

A simple course of "awareness training" can be helpful for
treating facial tics, according to a 1987 study from Georgia
Southern College in Statesboro, Georgia.

Awareness training is as the name suggests – bringing
awareness of the tic to the sufferer, which results in the tic
becoming less pronounced.

The study showed that awareness training alone was
successful in treating multiple head and facial tics in a young
adult, which were at low levels up to eight months after
therapy.

With the addition of social support and the use of a
competing response, awareness training was successful in a
1996 study from North Dakota State University, Fargo. The
combined use of the training effectively eliminated motor tics
in 50 percent of the children.

2.
Facial Tics are Associated with Social and Emotional
Difficulties

Sometimes the treatment for facial tics must encompass
therapy for more general emotional and social disorders.

Studies such as a 2003 report from the Child Study Center,
Yale University, New Haven show facial tics and Tourette’s
syndrome may be behavioral in origin and linked to “social,
emotional, and academic difficulties in early adulthood.”

Tics should also often be treated alongside attention
deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive
disorder, according to the researchers.

3.
Stress Can Cause Facial Tics

According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), stress
and anxiety can bring on tics or make them worse.

Facial tics can also become  more frequent and pronounced
when you are tired or excited. Treating stress is a good way
to relieve facial tics in many cases. Try deep breathing
exercises, meditation, yoga, massage, or lifestyle changes to
eliminate the tics.

4.
Facial Tics May be Due to Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is a condition where the sufferer has to close
their eyelids, according to the Benign Essential
Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF). The term can
be applied to any facial tic where there is abnormal blinking
or eyelid twitching.

There are many causes of blepharospasm including
dry eyes
and Tourette’s syndrome. A 1989 study from the National
Hospitals for Nervous Diseases, London, UK described one
family in which three generations of a family were affected
by eye winking and blepharospasm. (Read about more
causes of and remedies for excessive blinking).

Stress can make blepharospasm worse and the experience
can be socially isolating, which is why there are many
support groups across the US.

5.
Give Reassurance to Children with Facial Tics

Drawing attention to a tic in public or scolding a child for
their facial movements can make the situation worse. A 1991
study from Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, UK says the first
line of treatment should be explanation and reassurance for
children with facial tics.

You shouldn’t try to stop your child making facial movements
as the stress caused by this makes the tic worse.

Reassure your child to show them they have nothing to be
ashamed of, and try to ignore the tic as attention can make
the problem worse.

6.
Use Habit Reversal Therapy to Treat Facial Tics

Habit reversal therapy aims to educate the sufferer about
their condition, call attention to when the tics take place and
how to identify an urge to tic, and teach a new response to
the urge that you use instead of the tic until the tics subside.

A 2011 study by KS Bate, JM Malouff, ET Thorsteinsson, and
N Bhullar shows that habit reversal therapy for tics is
effective in a number of different situations.

A 2005 study from UCLA School of Medicine shows that
habit reversal therapy is a well-tolerated treatment for
children and adolescents with tics.

7.
Exposure with Response Prevention Therapy Treats Facial
Tics

Behavioral therapy for tics also includes exposure and
response prevention (ERP) therapy. Exposure and response
prevention helps teach you to suppress the urge to tic until
the feeling subsides and the tic disappears.

The theory is you will get used to the urge and the need to
tic will decrease over time.

A 2013 study from HSK Group BV, The Netherlands shows
both habit reversal and exposure and response prevention
are recommended as first-line treatments for facial tics.
According to the UK’s National Health Service, the two
techniques can improve facial tics in around 50 percent of all
sufferers.










































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Stress can trigger facial tics but simply being aware of
the triggers can help to resolve them.