View Full Version : Sensory tics


aularian
07-21-10, 07:38 AM
I was wondering whether anyone can point me in the direction of some good information about sensory tics?

I wasn't really aware of them and always thought that the fact that I get constant "random itches" in random places was normal. I finally thought to ask my neuropsychiatrist about it and he suggested that this is called a sensory tic.

He gave me some research to read that he had conducted many years ago but it really just created more questions than answers. It seems that there isn't really a common definition for a sensory tic. I've read them to be described by some as an actual physical sensation like itching or tingling and others as the urge that precedes a tic.

Any information will be appreciated :)

ZiggyFry
07-31-10, 07:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_phenomena

http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/39/5/731

"Even without suppression of the tics, motor tics are often preceded by a generalized or focal uncomfortable feeling that usually is relieved by the movement. These sensory phenomena have some resemblance to those associated with akathisia and the restless legs syndrome. In these two disorders, motor movement also relieves the unpleasant sensation, and both akathitic movements and the walking about by individuals with the restless legs syndrome can be considered the direct result of the voluntary motor behavior to bring about such relief, ie, "unvoluntary," as mentioned above. Individuals with tics may have either a generalized or a localized sensation of tension that is relieved by movement, ie, the tic. The focal, localized uncomfortable sensations relieved by movement of the affected body region has been called sensory tics, and these are seen in approximately 40% of patients with Tourette syndrome.9 Sensory tics are recurrent dysphoric somatic sensations of pressure, tickle, warmth, cold, pain, or other sensations in localized regions that are temporarily relieved by a movement.10 How different and specific these focal sensations are compared with the generalized discomfort often preceding a tic is not certain. One view is that the motor or vocal action in response to a sensory tic is voluntary, whereas the motor or vocal action relieving the generalized discomfort is involuntary, 9,10 and, hence, a motor or vocal tic."

That's really all I could find. Either way, I think I have experienced what you're describing. It looks like I'm scratching an itch, but usually I'm just touching the area or sliding my hand over it.

Sin.Ziggy.

aularian
08-02-10, 04:33 AM
Hey Ziggy, thanks for your reply! It seems to be a subject that there is very little information about, or at least conflicting views.

I think I know what you are saying about appearing as though you are scratching (as a way of redirecting your tic into something productive?). I've had facial tics since I was a little kid and more recently (on some days) have mastered the art of incorporating them into my speech so apart from me, people don't notice that I have tics anywhere near as much.

But in terms of the sensory thing, I actually do itch. I will get what I call a "random itch" on my leg, and it won't go away until I scratch it. Then a minute later my arm will itch, then my back, then my head and so on. It happens all day, though when I'm busy or distracted by something I don't notice it as much. When I'm trying to sleep it's annoying as hell. I did a meditation class last night which was torture, I was trying to stay still so as not to distract everyone and it was impossible!

I find that I have to readjust my clothes every minute or so as well, no matter how comfortable I got them to be last time - though that's more of an uncomfortable/anxiety thing that I need to get them just right, rather than an actual sensation on my skin.

Weird huh! It's been going on for years and I always thought it was normal. It's nice to have a name for it but not so nice to find out there's nothing I can do!!

Also I'm interested to know whether the actual itch is the tic, or the scratching of the itch. Because when I think about it I don't need to scratch like I need to say, twitch my nose - I just need the itch to be gone. So technically someone else could scratch it, or an object - which would mean I don't follow through at all. Ahh just thinking out loud, that's maybe something I should ask the doctor later...

ZiggyFry
08-02-10, 11:47 PM
I think I know what you are saying about appearing as though you are scratching (as a way of redirecting your tic into something productive?). I've had facial tics since I was a little kid and more recently (on some days) have mastered the art of incorporating them into my speech so apart from me, people don't notice that I have tics anywhere near as much.


Exactly. I recently noticed that a lot of my mannerisms come from covering up a tic. As an example: Something strange/weird/exciting happens, "uhhwow" almost as if I half laugh before I say "wow" because this stunning thing has made me want to tic.

When I'm trying to sleep it's annoying as hell. I did a meditation class last night which was torture, I was trying to stay still so as not to distract everyone and it was impossible!

I find that I have to readjust my clothes every minute or so as well, no matter how comfortable I got them to be last time - though that's more of an uncomfortable/anxiety thing that I need to get them just right, rather than an actual sensation on my skin.

I know exactly what you're talking about. When I was little, my brother and I had a bunk bed, but we couldn't sleep in the same bunk bed because I was always fidgeting trying to get just perfectly comfortable, then something doesn't feel right the way it's touching me. I don't think this is just tourettes. I think it has to do with some sensory issues.


I've read them to be described by some as an actual physical sensation like itching or tingling and others as the urge that precedes a tic.

This is a premonitory urge. Out of curiosity, how do you feel a tic coming?

Sin.Ziggy.