Muscle twitches are caused by small contractions in either a part of a muscle or a whole muscle. They can occur in any muscle in the body but often occur in the limbs, eyelids, or diaphragm. They are typically caused by either stimulation to the muscle or by a problem with a nerve. While most muscle twitches are nothing to worry about and pass quickly, there are some that are more severe and are symptoms of serious medical conditions.
EditStopping Minor Muscle Twitches
- Massage your muscle. If you have a muscle that is twitching because it is tight, this can often be relieved by massage. Moving the muscle around can release the tension that is causing the muscle to contract.
- Gently rub muscles that are twitching if it is comfortable for you to do so. If the muscle begins to hurt, or twitch more, then you should stop rubbing it.
- Get enough rest. Muscle twitches can be more frequent when you do not get enough rest. Make sure that you are sleeping through the night and that you give yourself additional rest during the day if you are feeling particularly tired.
- If you are having a hard time getting rest, try to avoid eating or drinking chemicals that can interfere with sleep, such as caffeine. You should also set a calming routine before bed, including doing an activity that will make you drowsy, such as reading or meditating.
- There is no scientific proof that lack of sleep causes muscle twitches but getting more rest can allow your body function better and manage its nerve impulses more effectively.
- Reduce your stress. Some muscle twitches can be minimized by being less stressed out. While the cause of muscles twitches in the eyelid are not well understood, it has been proven that reducing your stress can minimize them.
- Some easy ways to reduce stress include exercising regularly, spending quality time with your friends and family, working on a hobby you enjoy, and getting mental health support from a mental health professional.
- Minimize your use of stimulants. Some muscle twitches can be minimized by reducing your intake of stimulants, such as caffeine. Drinking fewer caffeinated drinks can make you generally less jittery and less twitchy.
- Instead of completely cutting out caffeine cold turkey, you can reduce your intake gradually. For instance, start drinking coffee that is half caffeinated and half de-caffeinated or switch to a mildly caffeinated tea.
- Give the twitches time to pass. There are some muscle twitches that will simply pass with time. The clearest example is hiccups. Hiccups are a form of muscle twitching that are caused by spasms in the diaphragm muscle. Hiccups can come and go quickly or can last for hours.
- In general, you should wait 48 hours before seeking medical treatment for hiccups that won’t stop. Some cases of hiccups can be related to medical issues, such as tumors and multiple sclerosis, so get yourself checked out if they continue indefinitely.
- Change medications. There are some medications that are commonly prescribed that can cause muscle twitching. If you are taking diuretics, corticosteroids, or estrogen, the medication could be causing your twitching.
- Discuss changing your medications with your doctor. You should never change or reduce your medication without first discussing it with a medical professional.
EditTreating Muscle Twitches Associated With Medical Conditions
- Assess the severity of your muscle twitches. Pay attention to how long the muscle twitches are lasting. Most muscle twitches are short lived and do not impact your quality of life. However, if you are having strong twitches or you are having twitching often or constantly, you should think about getting a medical evaluation.
- Track the frequency of the twitches. If they are happening daily and are lasting more that a minute or two, and you have no exacerbating factors, such as stress, then you should contact your doctor.
- Have a medical evaluation done. If you have long lasting muscle twitches that are impacting your quality of life and are not stopping, contact your doctor and get a check up. While rare, there are some serious illnesses that can cause muscle twitching, and you will want to rule them out as the cause of your twitching. Your doctor will likely do a general medical evaluation and then run specialized testing if they think there might be an underlying medical condition.
- Some serious, yet rare, medical conditions that can cause muscle twitching include Tourette syndrome, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophies, spinal muscular atrophy, Isaac’s syndrome, epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, brain tumors, liver failure, kidney failure, nervous system disorders, and genetic disorders.
- Treat the underlying condition. Medical conditions that cause muscle twitching should be treated by a doctor. Depending on what medical condition you have, muscle twitching will oftentimes be controlled when the condition is controlled.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can sometimes cause muscle twitching. Once these imbalances are fixed, the twitching should cease.
- There are some rare progressive neurological illnesses that begin with symptoms such as minor muscle twitching. With these illnesses, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the twitches may get progressively worse and will be uncontrollable.
- Since tumors can cause muscle twitching, having surgery to remove them can eliminate the twitching.
- Take medication for muscle twitching. If treating your underlying medical condition does not minimize muscle twitching, there are medications that can be prescribed that can target the twitching specifically. Medications that are commonly prescribed for controlling muscle twitching include muscle relaxants and neuromuscular blockers.
- Talk to your doctor about whether one of these medications will work with your larger treatment plan.