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Managing my aches and pains with Physiotherapy

Posted Tue 19th Jun 2018 at 12:53
by Laura Beljaars


Laura Beljaars writes about her experience of Physiotherapy in the Netherlands

I've been going to a physical therapist for years now, just about every week. My tics (especially the ones in my back, shoulders and neck) are a big strain on my muscles. Tics are basically a 24/7 workout, as you know, you keep using the same muscles,  and usually tics are really forceful as well. I like to compare it to doing one specific exercise you do in the gym, but all day long. Anyone doing that would get lots and lots of pain. So what my physiotherapist does, is massage my muscles to help them relax. When I walk out of the door, I start tensing them again, and one week later they are so tense again that they hurt like hell, so I go back to get them massaged.  Physiotherapy isn’t a treatment for my TS – in that it doesn’t try to treat the neurological dysfunction – it just helps me to manage the physical symptom of pain and discomfort as caused by my tics.

The goal is to keep the status quo, not to ‘get better’. The way I see it is that my physiotherapist is helping relieve the tension caused by an overuse of my muscles.  This isn’t just specific to TS, this is what Physios help with across a wide range of patients. 

Something else I do is dry needling, my manual therapist (she cracks my ribs back in place) does this (as do many Physiotherapists) and it's really helpful. This helps relax the muscle quickly and easily, by inserting a needle into the soft tissue for about 2 seconds.  There's one more (funny) thing: Physiotherapists sometimes use medical tape to help with muscle pains (I have one on my back now), but it also helps with my tics.  I think this is because of the pressure applied to a ticcing muscle, which helps my tics go away. This is obviously not scientific, but I think it should be!

*Please note that Tourettes Action does not endorse any of the treatments mentioned in this blog. There are personal stories from some people who have TS that they find relief from the muscular strains and sprains using some of the techniques above. None of these techniques have research evidence for efficacy and we would advise if you did seek any alternative treatment that you get the advice of your medical practitioner beforehand and ensure that the therapist you see is fully qualified.


Tourettes Action would like your help in completing a short survey about whether people with TS have any experience of getting physiotherapy or physical therapy

We would like to find out roughly if people with TS or tics suffer injuries, physical problems or pain due to their tics?

The information you give will help us inform and work with physiotherapists or physical therapists to understand the issues facing people with TS.


If you have any questions please contact Dr Seonaid Anderson Research manager for Tourettes Action.

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Managing my aches and pains with Physiotherapy

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