A number of the parents of our Tourette’s diagnosed patients ask why the TV might be a factor in their child’s disorder. Well, let’s first be clear that I am ONLY treating TMJ disorders, I am NOT treating the actual tics, it just so happens that the tics of Tourette’s are likely a comorbidity of having slipped discs in the jaw joints. What I am seeing is that many of the patients who have these slipped discs- the younger patients- tend to be hunched over their TV or computer screens well into the night, my own kids do this too, and it’s hard to stop it.
When a person is hunched over a lot- leaning into the screen, it makes their jaws come forward and this alone can make the discs in the joints slip forward too. The other issue with lots of screen time is that your body does not produce the proper amounts of melatonin in order to get good sleep and this is highly contributory to not sleeping well, of course! And when the body does not get enough rest, it can go into hyperactivity mode and this is where a lot of the tourette’s kids tend to be- they are running all over the place and simply cannot settle down. This is called sleep deprivation by some doctors that I know.
So, dear readers, think of it like this. Your child is in front of a screen day and night on those long weekends- like mine were last weekend – and by Monday they are dead tired, cannot function, are really irritable and sleep deprived. No wonder they get hyper active, but even more so when they have tourette’s as their MD has diagnosed. As most of you already know, my position on movement disorders is that the discs in their jaw joints are displaced inward- medially- so if you add on the stress of extra screen time and not sleeping well, these kids are even more irritable and cranky than ever, which can exacerbate their tics! So if you have a family member with a movement disorder, think about what they are doing to themselves- is this child ‘on screen’ all day and all night? Are they gaming all night with their best buddies on the weekend? Are they up on Friday until 2:30am Saturday like my boys were last weekend? Hmmm….what a way to make a bad thing become a worse thing!