Muscle twitches are tiny involuntary movements involving small areas of muscle or muscle fibers. These twitches often go unnoticed & when you do feel them, they tend to feel worse & more noticeable than they truly are. Twitches, also known as fasciculations, can occur in the arms, feet, fingers, hands, head, legs, stomach & other parts of the body.
Twitches can also happen in the eye muscles. Muscle twitches are usually harmless & are more of an irritation than a problem for concern. In most cases, they disappear quickly after they appear or when the underlying cause is observed. In rare cases, however, muscle twitching can be a sign of a neurological disorder.
If your child is suffering from muscle twitching, it can be very uncomfortable & nerve-wracking for you as a parent. However, identifying the exact cause of muscle twitching can be extremely helpful in making sure your child gets the correct treatment. Although it is not common for a child’s muscles to twitch involuntarily, it does happen. Children can also suffer from a benign & diet deficient twitches, just like adults.
Muscle twitching is also known as muscle fasciculation. Twitching involves tiny muscle contractions in your body. Your muscles are composed up of fibers that are controlled by your nerves. Stimulation or injury to a nerve may cause your muscle fibers to twitch. Most muscle twitches go unnoticed & are not cause for concern. In a few cases, they may indicate a nervous system condition & you should consult your doctor.
There are several conditions that can cause muscle twitching. Minor muscle twitching is usually the result of less serious, lifestyle-related causes. More severe muscle twitching, however, is often the result of a serious condition.
Common causes of muscle twitching include the following
- Twitching can occur after physical activity because lactic acid accumulates in the muscles used during exercise. It most often affects the arms, legs & back.
- Muscle twitches caused by stress & anxiety are usually called “nervous ticks.” These conditions can affect any muscle in the body.
- Consuming too much caffeine & other drugs can cause muscles in any part of the body to twitch.
- Deficiencies of some nutrients can cause muscle spasms, particularly in the eyelids, calves & hands. Common types of nutritional deficiencies include vitamin D, vitamin B & calcium deficiencies.
- Dehydration can cause muscle contraction & twitching, especially in the body’s larger muscles. These include the legs, arms & torso.
- The nicotine found in cigarettes & different tobacco products can cause muscle twitching, particularly in the legs.
- Muscle spasms can occur in the eyelid or the area surrounding the eye when the eyelid or the outer part of the eye is irritated.
- Adverse effects of certain medications, including corticosteroids & estrogen pills, can trigger muscle spasms. The twitching may also affect the hands, arms or legs.
- These common causes of muscle spasms are usually minor conditions that can easily be resolved. The twitching should subside within a few days.
However, you need to consult your doctor if you suspect that your medicines are causing your muscle twitching. Your doctor may prescribe a lowering dosage or switch you to another medication. You should also consult your doctor if you think you have a nutritional deficiency.
More Serious Causes
While most of the muscle twitching is the effect of minor conditions & certain habits, some muscle spasms can be triggered by more severe causes. These disorders are often related to problems with the nervous system, which include those of the brain & the spinal cord. They may destroy the nerves connected to your muscles, leading to twitching. Some of the rare but serious conditions that can trigger muscle twitches are:
- Muscular dystrophies, which are a group of inherited diseases that damage & weaken the muscles in future. They can create muscle twitching in the face & neck or hips & shoulders.
- Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a disease that causes nerve cells to die. The twitching usually affects the muscles in any part of the body, but it normally happens in the arms & legs first.
- Spinal muscular atrophy damages the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, affecting the control of muscle movement, which can cause the tongue to twitch.
- Isaac’s syndrome affects the nerves that stimulate muscle fibers, resulting in frequent muscle twitching. The spasms most frequently occur in the arm & leg muscles.
- Muscle twitching typically is not an emergency, but a dangerous medical condition may be causing it. Get an appointment with your doctor if your twitching becomes a chronic or determined issue.
id=”symptoms” class=”fontText”>Signs and Symptoms
When muscle contracts involuntarily and releases suddenly twitching occurs, slight twitches are noticeable to the one who is experiencing them, but are not usually obvious to others. Fatigue after strenuous exercise is very common for muscles to twitch involuntarily. When falling asleep, many people experience twitching and jerking of numerous muscle groups. Twitching muscles of the eyelid are also common.
Twitching and grimacing are seen in Parkinson’s disease, though many other symptoms predominate. In Huntington’s chorea, the attention is not only on specific involuntary muscle movements but even psychological states of irritability, apathy and mania that are practiced with this illness.
Muscle twitch cause the following
- Local pain
- The involved muscle becomes firm
- The function of the involved extremity is disturbed
- Difficulty in grasping or writing (writer’s cramp) or when a hand muscle is affected, it can lead to muscle twitch. When the muscles of foot or the calf are affected, it may lead to difficulty in walking.
- Certain medications
- Low blood levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium
- Low blood levels of vitamin b1, b5, or b6.
When you consult your doctor, your doctor will ask you about your muscle twitching to discover the underlying cause. You will discuss:
- When your muscles started twitching
- Where the twitches occur
- How frequently the twitches occur
- How long the twitches last
- Any other signs you may be encountering
- The doctor will further perform a physical examination & collect your medical history. You should inform your doctor about any existing health conditions.
The doctor will likely order specific diagnostic tests if they suspect that your muscle twitching is due to an underlying condition. They may order:
- Blood tests to evaluate electrolyte levels & thyroid function
- An MRI scan
- A CT scan
- Electro-myography to assess the health of the muscles & the nerve cells that control them
These diagnostic tests can help your doctor determine the cause of your muscle twitching. If you have persistent & chronic muscle twitching, a serious underlying medical condition may be the cause. It is essential to diagnose & treat the problem as soon as possible. Early intervention can often improve your long-term outlook & treatment options.
Treatment is usually not necessary for muscle twitching. The spasms subside without any treatment, within a few days. However, you may require treatment if any serious condition is causing your muscle twitching. Depending on the precise diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to ease symptoms.
Drugs for Treatment Include:
- Corticosteroids – betamethasone (Celestone) & prednisone (Rayos)
- Muscle Relaxants – carisoprodol (Soma) & cyclobenzaprine (Amrix)
- Neuromuscular Blockers – inco-botulinum toxin A (Xeomin) & rima-botulinum toxin B (Myobloc)
Surgery: Tumors that cause myoclonic activity in children with opsoclonus-myoclonus may have to be removed through surgery or treated with chemotherapy & radiation. Oral corticosteroids such as prednisone or adreno-corticotropic hormone (ACTH) may be prescribed.
Behavioral changes: A lack of sleep can increase seizure activity in some children with epilepsy, making it essential for them to get enough sleep. People whose seizures are caused by light (photosensitivity seizures) should avoid exposure to flickering lights. Some recommendations include sitting farther away from video monitors & making sure there is enough back illumination.
Muscle twitching is not always preventable. However, the following things could aid in lowering your risk:
Eating a Balanced Diet (tips for a balanced diet given below)
- Eat fresh fruits & vegetables.
- Eat whole grains, which provide you with carbohydrates for energy.
- Take a moderate amount of protein regularly.
- Gain most of your protein from lean sources, like chicken & tofu.
Get Enough Sleep
- At least 6 – 8 hours of undisturbed sleep is required to a person in a day to keep himself healthy. (Sleep helps the body heal & recover, giving your nerves time to rest).
- Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, Tai Chi help you overcome stress in your life.
- Exercise 3 times per week to feel less stressed.
- Talk to a therapist to relieve your stress.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages or eating foods that contain caffeine. These foods & drinks may increase or promote muscle twitching.
- It is forever a good idea to quit smoking. Nicotine is a mild stimulant that affects your central nervous system. Quitting smoking also helps reduce your risk for other serious health problems.
- Talk to your doctor if you are on a stimulant medication, such as amphetamine & you develop muscle twitching. Your doctor would prescribe a different medicine that doesn’t cause twitching.