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Constant head movements.

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My 7 year old son shakes his head a lot , he has been doing this for a few weeks now. I asked him why he does it and he said he doesn't know.
I'm getting worried something is wrong as some days it seems worse then others. He said he is tired , he does a lot of sport and activities so him feeling tired would be understandable. He has had a couple of headaches of late also. Everything else seems fine, he is good at sport and school and has lots of friends and loves people, he is very social. But the head shake looks strange at times and really worries me. He has had habits before like smelling his hands after touching things and licking his fingers but that has all past and he doesn't do those things anymore, but now it's this head shake. What should I do to help him ?


Category: Pediatrician

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Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Dr. Saptharishi L G is online now

Expert:  Dr. Saptharishi L G replied 4 Days.

Dear Parent,

Thank you for your consult at DoctorSpring.com. I completely understand your concern and empathise with you.

The description that you have provided is informative, yet a few more clarifications can enable me to help and guide you.

1. Do you have any video of your son shaking his head that you can upload?
2. When does he do it? - Is it at any particular time of the day? Is it when he gets tensed or worried? Does he do it in his sleep? Is he able to suppress it voluntarily? Does he have progression of the movement from head to other parts of the body?
3. Does he also have any other compulsive habits like swearing expletives or using any foul language or anything similar?

Look forward to your reply.
Regards
Saptharishi L G


Patient replied :

1. No I haven't video him but I will tonight and send it to you.
2. It can be anytime of day, but seems more when I am in the room. He does not do it in his sleep. Only his head no other parts of the body move. No one has picked it up at school so not sure whether he is doing it there or not.
3. No swear or foul language .
He said his eyes are sore sometimes , he got his eyes tested and his eyes were fine but she said he had abit of dry eye so he has drops now to put in to help with that soreness . Not sure if that will help.

I watched him without him knowing I was watching and he didn't seem to shake his head as much , but as soon as I walked in he started.
Maybe it's me. We are very close and have a great relationship so not sure why he does it more around me.
I will try taking a video of him shaking his head and send it into you.
School work is good , good at maths , good at reading , he loves to read.
I really don't know why this has started.
His hair was long so we got a hair cut as the shake of the head looks like he was trying to get the hair out of his eyes. But now that it is shorter he is doing doing it.


Expert:  Dr. Saptharishi L G replied 3 Days.

Dear Parent,
Thank you for providing the information that I had sought. It has helped me understand the problem better. Medically, movement disorders in children are of various subtypes: chorea, athetosis, tremors, ballismus, hemiballismus, tics, etc (PS: You could look up these terms on the internet, for your understanding; My describing each of these terms individually may confuse you further)
Your description of your son's movement disorder could fit into a 'TIC' disorder. Tics classically are semi-voluntary. A unique aspect of these tics is that they are suppressible yet, irresistible. They increase in situations of anxiety, stress, etc. They subside when the child is focussing on something else (Eg: watching a movie or playing computer games) and when the child is asleep. Without looking at the video, I would not be able to put my finger on any of the diagnoses. Hope that the above information was of some use to you.

Regards


Patient replied :

Dear Parent,Thank you for providing the information that I had sought. It has helped me understand the problem better. Medically, movement disorders in children are of various subtypes: chorea, athetosis, tremors, ballismus, hemiballismus, tics, etc (PS: You could look up these terms on the internet, for your understanding; My describing each of these terms individually may confuse you further)Your description of your son's movement disorder could fit into a 'TIC' disorder. Tics classically are semi-voluntary. A unique aspect of these tics is that they are suppressible yet, irresistible. They increase in situations of anxiety, stress, etc. They subside when the child is focussing on something else (Eg: watching a movie or playing computer games) and when the child is asleep. Without looking at the video, I would not be able to put my finger on any of the diagnoses. Hope that the above information was of some use to you.Regards Saptharishi L G



Dr. Saptharishi L G
Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Experience: 
Senior Residency: DM,  Pediatric Critical Care, PGIMER

Residency: MD, Pediatrics, Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 2013

Internship: JIPMER, 2009

Medical School: MBBS, Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, 2008
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