Head-nodding and shaking tics

Share This Post

Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

Head nodding/head-shaking is a tic experienced by many people with tic disorders. It can resemble and/or be identical to neck-related tics, creating similar movements.

Is head-nodding and shaking a motor or vocal tic?

This would be classed as a motor tic as it involves movement. 

More articles on Motor and Vocal tics

Would this be a simple or complex tic?

As a stand-alone tic, this would usually be considered simple. This changes if more muscles are used, or combined with additional tics. This could be moving a limb or saying a word or phrase.

Main article: The difference between simple and complex tics

What to look out for

Individuals with this tic may find themselves prone to headaches. Repetitive movements may cause dizziness and nausea. More severe movements may also affect the neck region.

The neck is a very sensitive area, and prone to injuries. Tics can slow down the healing process of injuries to the neck or head region. 

It would be advised to see a specialist for advice if this is the case.

Is this caused by Tourette syndrome?

This may be a symptom of Tourette if combined with at least one other motor tic and one vocal tic. These have to be present for one year.

Main article: The difference between Tourette and other tic disorders

Share This Post

DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

Click here for the support finder, locating Tourette and OCD support wherever you are in the world.


Dealing with Disorder was created by a sufferer, struggling to find information to help manage the conditions.