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Motor tics and Migraines, is there a connection?

Hello, I have suffered from migraines for 20+ years. My daughter, age 15, has recently been diagnosed as well. Her
headaches seem chronic, happening almost daily, with some associated vertigo, blurred/distorted vision, and sensitivity to sound and strong odor, (i.e. perfume in a classroom). Around the same time, she started having "head jerks", almost like she got a chill/shiver. I took her in to the pediatrician, as the until head jerking was happening several times a day, and she thought they are a motor tic, and not a myoclonic jerk, (related to seizures). She was referred to neurology, but her appt isn't until May! I have migraine with aura, and there is a family history of epilepsy, (my brother). I am concerned....Has anyone heard of motor tics and migraines?

  1. Hi jcollup,

    Welcome to the discussion forum - we're glad you've joined us!

    I'm sorry to hear your daughter is having a rough time, I know how frustrating it is to see our children in pain. I don't know too much about tics and migraine disease, and after a quick search didn't find too much. That doesn't mean it's not possible for them to be comorid - meaning they can occur at the same time but are not caused by one another.

    Hopefully others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you.

    I hope this helps,

    1. Hi jcollup,

      I am a Mom as well and the concern is my son. He is 30 now and has had migraines with motion tics for years. They are made worse by a lack of sleep and stress, conditions that seem to be prevalent in his life, but I wanted you to know that there is someone else out there with that added bonus of "motion tics." They often ask him to go home from work since he works in a public place and his tics are like a whole body twitch that makes them very nervous. He has had things fly out of his hand when he twitches.

      1. Thank you, hopefully all this will "level out" with her!

      2. Based on her age, there may also be a hormonal component at work.

    2. Hello, I have the same symptoms as your daughter. I know you posted this a while ago, but I was wondering if you found out anything more about this. I feel relieved to know that somebody else gets head jerks too-- that's what I've been calling them too. I saw a neurologist this week, and he seems to think that the head jerks are all just a part of having migraines, but we are getting bloodwork, an EEG, and an MRI done to rule out anything else.

      1. Hello!

        Just came on to note for the record that I have the same symptoms. I'm 24 now and have had severe chronic migraines since I was 12, many neurologists have tried and failed to find a reason for them unfortunately. I also have a head jerk tic where I have to sharply turn my head to the right repetitively, sometimes accompanied with my shoulders jerking up but not always. Like you said in your original post, it's almost like getting a chill, but not quite. It almost feels like an invisible force pulls on a string of muscle along the back right side of my neck and I have to tic to make the sensation go away. I don't have any other involuntary tics motor or otherwise. I did have one seizure a few years ago, but it was a one-off caused by a bad reaction to the anti-depressant I was on at the time. After switching from that medication I've had no seizures since, so I highly doubt the head jerking is a myoclonic thing, at least for me. Fortunately the tic doesn't bother me. Most people don't notice it, and it doesn't hurt at all.

        1. Hi! My daughter is 12 and has chronic migraines. She had a bad migraine recently and started stuttering every single word. Two days later she had a headache and now has motor ticks. Her grandmother had migraines and seizures started at 12. I took her to the ER last nights and they just said she has tics. May I ask what antidepressant you took? My daughters therapist just put her in Lexapro and she was on it for 6 days and I had her stop thi king it could have been from the medication.

        2. ,

          That must have been so terrifying, I am so sorry that you (and your daughter) had to experience that! What does the doctor who prescribed the Lexapro think? Have you been able to consult with whoever treats her for chronic migraine?

          I hope you are able to get some answers and she is feeling better soon, keep us posted!

          ~Melanie (team member)

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