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How and why muscle twitching occurs, what works against it and when you should see a doctor

Everyone has been afflicted by them at some point: muscle twitching in the arm, leg, eye or other areas of the body. In many cases, it is stress-related twitching of the muscles that can occur in different parts of the body and are more annoying than worrying. But sometimes the muscle twitching can be a sign of something more serious and then a doctor should be seen.

Muscle twitching in the eye is usually harmless and not dangerous

Today we’re trying to explain the different types of muscle twitching and the causes for them. What helps against muscle twitching in the arm, leg or head and other parts of the body and how can you prevent them? You can also find out when muscle twitching is a concern and should be examined more closely.

Muscle twitching – what is it?

In athletes, muscle twitching occurs when there is a lack of nutrients

Shrug shoulders, head shrugs, stomach twitches, twitches in the eyes, arms and legs, stomach or elsewhere – in principle they can occur anywhere. Muscle twitches are sudden and uncontrolled movements or contractions of the muscle. which can affect the entire muscle, but also just individual fibers or muscle bundles. Even whole muscle groups can be affected and depending on the twitching, the twitches have different names:

  • Fibrillation
  • Fasciculations
  • Myoclonia
  • tremor
  • Myocymia

Fibrillation are twitches of the muscle fibers that do not cause any movement of the body part. They cannot be felt by the person concerned and can only be recognized by special examination methods.

Twitching of muscles in the face and other parts of the body

the Fasciculations are a fairly common, uncontrolled twitching of individual muscle bundles that is harmless and is known as benign muscle twitching. It is precisely these muscle twitches that we all know and that sometimes annoy us in everyday life. Fasciculation is noticeable, but usually causes little or no body movement (e.g. muscle twitching on the eye / eyelid or eyebrow twitching).

Muscle twitching can be benign or a symptom of an illness

at Myoclonia In contrast, the entire muscle twitches. However, this does not necessarily mean that myoclonic twitching can also induce movement of an entire part of the body. But it is quite possible.

as tremor is the term used to describe the twitching of several muscle parts and not of a single muscle as in myoclonus. The resulting movement is actually a tremor and not a twitch.

Myocymia are not twitches in the strict sense, but rather waves of contraction that go through the muscle. Movements are not triggered on them. Epilepsies or a tic are characterized by such involuntary contractions.

Muscle twitching causes

Muscle twitches occur in muscle fibers, muscle bundles, individual muscles or muscle groups

Depending on the type of twitching, the cause of the muscle twitching can be different. While some twitches are caused by various diseases (e.g. epilepsy) and more precisely as a result of a disturbed nervous system, the more harmless variants, such as fasciculations, are often simply the result of increased stress.

It is not uncommon for people to experience muscle twitches when falling asleep, which move almost the entire body. These are also harmless and have no cause for concern. Strong twitching when falling asleep (also called muscle fasciculation) occurs during the sleep phase as the tension in the muscles gradually subsides.

Often there will be a sudden twitch when falling asleep, which is normal

Possible non-disease triggers for twitching muscles could include:

  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • stimulating substances such as alcohol, coffee, energy drinks, drugs
  • mental imbalance
  • Magnesium or other nutritional deficiency
  • Nutrient excess
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Dehydration
  • as a side effect of medication
  • pinched nerves
  • Sedentary lifestyle

The human nervous system and nerve tracts stimulate muscle movement

How does muscle twitching occur?

While the causes mentioned above can trigger muscle twitching, it is more precisely the nerves that lead to the muscle that set the muscle fibers or bundles in motion and are particularly aroused. Nerve impulses discharge in an uncontrolled manner, causing the muscles to suddenly contract.

Disease-related muscle twitching

Muscle twitching - causes, types, and remedies for muscle twitching

Unlike benign muscle twitches, pathological muscle twitches are the result of various diseases. We would like to explain some of them to you in more detail below:

Tick

Everyone probably has an idea of ​​what a tick looks like. Uncontrolled muscle twitching in various forms can occur in those affected. Some suffer from a simple blink of an eye, while with others several sequences of movements follow one another or even sounds are released. Such tics can be traced back to a disturbance of the nervous system

Wave-like contractions of the muscles are common in epilepsy

epilepsy

Muscle twitching all over the body occurs in epilepsy. More precisely, the muscles tense up. And although the exact causes have not yet been fully clarified, it is assumed that it may be congenital brain damage or malformations of the brain tissue, among other things. But triggers that can trigger epilepsy in later life, such as brain tumors or cranial brain trauma as a result of an accident, are also possible.

An epileptic seizure with muscle contractions is the result of congenital brain damage

Changes in the bloodstream or viral and bacterial infections are also possible causes of epileptic fits with muscle twitching. During a seizure, large amounts of neurons are released in the brain and this is exactly what disrupts communication between the brain and muscles – false signals are sent. The high concentration of neurotransmitters also carries the risk of brain damage.

Twitching in the muscles can be the result of an illness

Nervous system disorder – Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by tremors rather than muscle twitching. However, constant muscle twitching and trembling are not the only complaints patients suffer from. In addition, there is also stiff muscles, slowing down of movement and a changed posture, as well as later often joint and muscle pain, numbness in the arms and legs and others.

Vegetative dystonia

This disease is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. Muscle twitching is just one symptom of many others, including heart problems, shortness of breath, headaches and dizziness, and stomach problems with abdominal pain. In addition, there is nervousness and weakness up to panic attacks and anxiety states. All of these symptoms are caused, among other things, by a disruption of information processing in the diencephalon.

Diabetes and other diseases can make muscles twitch

Other possible diseases associated with muscle twitching:

  • Febrile seizures
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • diabetes
  • Inflammation and bleeding of the brain
  • Circulatory disorders
  • viral and bacterial infections
  • Essential tremor
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Orthopedic diseases with nerve irritation

What to do about muscle twitching?

Nerves cause twitches in the muscles

What can you do about muscle twitching? Of course, this mainly depends on the cause, which should first be examined by a doctor. In the case of pathological causes, a cure is not to be hoped for. In these cases only an alleviation of the symptoms is achieved. In the case of twitching as a result of deficiency symptoms, it is only logical that the problem is best solved by an adequate diet and, if necessary, by preparations.

If your muscle twitching is stressed, you can try simple muscle twitching remedies that you can use relax can. A warm bath, yoga or a walk in the fresh air can already work wonders and relax you.

Disorders of the nervous system like Parkinson's cause tremors, tremors

Do you drink much water, because a lack of fluids also disrupts the supply of nutrients to the muscles. So if you ask yourself what to do against nerve twitching, you will get one possible answer. In addition, not only is the hydration an advantage, but also that you supply the body with important minerals with mineral water.

Move You also get enough, because lack of exercise lowers blood pressure and this also disrupts the supply of nutrients to the muscles, which can lead to muscle twitches, cramps and tremors.

Lack of nutrients

Lack of nutrients as a cause of fasciculations in arms, legs or other areas

An unbalanced diet can quickly lead to a lack of nutrients, which can disrupt muscle activity. The same thing can also cause excessive exercise or a combination of both. So if you suffer from muscle twitching after exercising, it is likely an indication of a lack of certain nutrients. Then not only muscle twitching in the thigh is typical, but also anywhere else in the body. Nutrient deficiencies are also not uncommon for vegans.

Deficiency of the following minerals can lead to muscle twitching:

  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • calcium
  • sodium
  • Vitamins

Magnesium helps muscles relax and when muscles twitch

magnesium

How does magnesium help with muscle twitching? If the body does not get enough magnesium through food, communication between nerves and muscles is disturbed, which among other things leads to twitching and is particularly noticeable in the arms and legs. Magnesium is responsible for relaxing muscles. Bear in mind that in some situations the average daily requirement is not sufficient and you may then have to help out with supplements (e.g. for athletes or pregnant women and when there is a lot of stress).

Calcium, potassium, and sodium are important for muscles

Potassium, calcium and sodium

Calcium and potassium deficiencies can also cause muscle twitching. For example, Schüssler salts are a good source of negative effects from sodium deficiency, but you can also ask your doctor about other variants. A sodium deficiency is not infrequently characterized by tremors and myoclonus and in severe cases can even lead to epileptic seizures.

Vitamins and a balanced diet prevent muscle twitching

Vitamins

Twitching of the face and especially of the eyes is sometimes a sign of vitamin deficiency. But which vitamins are deficient in muscle twitching in the eye? Usually, when your eyes twitch, it’s the B vitamins that you should supply your body with.

Magnesium is found in numerous foods, as well as in dietary supplements Food, which are high in potassium, calcium and magnesium and help against muscle twitching:

  • Beans, peas, spinach and broccoli
  • Whole grains, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, wheat bran, millet, flaxseed
  • Eggs, Emmentaler
  • rice
  • nuts
  • Bananas, raspberries
  • Cocoa and dark chocolate

Pregnancy and caesarean section

What are the reasons for muscle twitching in the abdomen during pregnancy

Although muscle twitches and throbbing in the abdomen can occur during pregnancy, they should not necessarily be considered normal. Because the twitching in the stomach or another part of the body may be a sign of a magnesium deficiency, which can occur very quickly. The need is now namely higher and is also more difficult to meet through the normal diet. Doctors therefore usually prescribe their pregnant patients dietary supplements that meet the increased need for nutrients.

Twitching during pregnancy is a sign of magnesium deficiency

A twitch in the abdomen can cause amazement even in pregnant women who are pregnant for the first time. It is not uncommon for women to feel a puck in their stomach as early as the 18th week of pregnancy and these are probably normal child movements that are initially perceived as tremors and become a kind of throbbing and twitching as the fetus grows. The baby’s hiccups are also felt like a kind of tremor.

After a caesarean section, you can feel twitching as the nerves renew themselves

Muscle twitching after a caesarean section

It’s no secret that this type of surgery cuts many layers, including the skin, abdominal wall, and adipose tissue. But the tiny blood vessels and nerve tracts are also severed and after the operation there is usually a feeling of numbness for a while, but this does not last long. And it is precisely in the regeneration phase, i.e. while the nerves are being repaired, that twitching can occur in the abdomen.

Muscle twitching – when to see a doctor?

When to see a doctor for muscle twitching

So muscle and nerve twitches are not necessarily something worrying and can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. However, you should still consult a doctor if the twitching occurs frequently over a longer period of 2 to 3 weeks. And it doesn’t matter whether the muscle twitch is felt in the chest, the muscle twitch occurs in the back, a twitch in the head annoys you or just the thumb twitches.