Signs of Tourette syndrome include repetitive head jerking, eye blinking, flexing of the fingers, shoulder shrugging and sticking out the tongue, explains Mayo Clinic. Other signs include sudden, intermittent nose touching; hopping; arm flapping; touching other individuals; and smelling objects. There are also verbal tics, such as throat clearing.
Movement, or motor, tics that occur with Tourette syndrome fall under the categories of simple and complex, notes Mayo Clinic. Simple tics, such as eye blinking, finger flexing and head jerks, require the use of only a few muscle groups, while complex tics, such as touching other people, making obscene gestures and smelling objects, engage several muscle groups at once. It is most common for people with the syndrome to develop motor tics, especially those involving the facial muscles, before they develop vocal tics, although there is a wide range of symptom presentations.
Vocal tics can also be either simple or complex, states Mayo Clinic. Examples of simple vocal tics are yelling, barking and hiccups. Complex vocal tics are symptoms such as speaking in varying vocal tones and repeating words or phrases. Patients may repeat their own spoken words or phrases, or they may repeat ones they hear others say. Tourette syndrome patients often experience a bodily sensation called a premonitory urge before they have tics. This can be tension or an uncomfortable itch that feels better after the tic.