Case study – motor tics in a four year old

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 27 April 2021

As a parent one of the most challenging things to deal with is a neurological diagnosis in your child. Especially when the standard line of treatment is nothing, or strong drugs that have a high risk of side effects.

But what if there was something that could bridge the gap?

That is what I hope this case can illustrate. There are many options available in the middle ground that could be extremely effective. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing pharmaceutical approach.

D.C. is a four year old male that came to see me for initial appointment within the last year. His chief complaints were motor tics, anxiety, and poor sleep.

In his history the tics started approximately a year ago. He would have involuntary movements of his head, and chew, or lick different items. They seemed to be worse during developmental milestones and when he was watching TV, listening to his parents read a book, or looking through a catalogue. The use of any screens would cause a huge meltdown as soon as they were taken away. So much so, his parents had to stop using them with him completely.

He also seemed to be having some social anxiety. Not wanting to leave the house or meet new people. His mom described his mood as easy to become upset. She felt like she was walking on eggshells around him in order to not upset him.

Finally, his sleep was terrible. He would wake a lot crying and most of the time woke up cranky. It was even worse as a baby, waking every hour at night and crying after any nap.

At his first visit I prescribed a supplement called MetaRelax by Metagenics which was a powdered magnesium with taurine and few other accessory vitamins. I also gave him a complex homeopathic remedy called Pasconal by Pascoe. This remedy is used for sympathetic dominance of the nervous system.


I hypothesized D.C.'s traumatic birth set the stage for his nervous system to be on constant alert. Essentially a fight or flight mode was set as his default.

Due a a severe shoulder dystocia during delivery D.C. wasn't breathing and his heart rate plummeted. As soon as he was born he needed to be put on oxygen immediately for eight hours. He had very little contact with mom when his nervous system needed it the most. Mom had also suffered a severe tear so she could only see him in the nursery once every three hours. Also, once at home he was only brought to mom when he needed feeding. As a result there was very little skin to skin contact for the first few weeks of life.

I saw D.C. for his follow-up visit approximately 5 weeks later. About a week into taking his supplements his motor tics had completely stopped. His sleep was getting better and his anxiety was lowering. He was more willing to try new things. Throughout the five weeks he ended up having one tic during story time.

Three months later D.C. was a different child. He had stopped taking the MetaRelax on his own but loved taking his Pasconal drops still. His motor tics were gone. His sleep was much better. His anxiety was down about 80%. Mom thought his personality was coming out more. During a growth period he started to become more restless so mom increased the dosage he was taking and it helped him immediately.

It still amazes me that within four months D.C. went from having a life-time neurological diagnosis to completely normal. It is a great reminder that when you can get the root of the problem, and treat it correctly, the natural medicines I have access to in my toolkit are so effective at bridging the gap.

Thank-you to D.C. and his mom for letting me share his case 🙂

Now I would love to hear from you! What did you think of this case? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

8 Replies to “Case study – motor tics in a four year old”

Kimberley Westerveld

Love this story!! you are an amazing healer!!


Great success story! On another neurological topic, Are there any effective treatments of Tourette’s in older children and adults?

Jane Prudhomme

So glad that you were there for this little guy.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Yes, but it would all depend on the case. In my experience, the longer the person has had the condition, the more treatments and time it will take for an effective change in symptoms.


Our community is so fortunate to have you

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Gretchen!

Barb Ashley-Caterer

The muffin recipe is great for breakfast, May I sign up for any recipes you have for other meal ideas as well.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Hi Barb,
If you are signed up for the newsletter, I publish a recipe once a month.

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