Who makes you flinch

Muscle twitching: causes, treatment & tips

January 31, 2020

If you look in the mirror, it can be clearly seen: a nervous twitch around the eye that makes you look like a psychopath from a clich├ęd thriller. Where does this strange muscle twitch come from? Is that the nerves and is it dangerous? What can be done about it?

In this article you will learn:

  • How does muscle twitching feel?
  • Causes of muscle twitching
  • How do fasciculations of the calf or the upper arm come about?
  • Diseases with the symptom of muscle twitching
  • Muscle twitching: when should you see a doctor?
  • 10 practical tips - this helps against harmless muscle twitching
  • Bye-bye muscle twitching: successfully combating stress

This is what muscle twitching feels like

The annoying muscle twitching, which is sometimes colloquially referred to as "nerve twitching", can basically occur all over the body. It can affect individual muscles or entire muscle groups, repeat itself several times and be rhythmic or arrhythmic. A lightning-like, involuntary contraction of the upper or lower arm or leg muscles is typical, for example.

And you may have also experienced a nervous twitch of the eye that makes the skin around the eyelid flicker. The trunk is seldom affected by these problems, but this kind of jerky muscle twitch occurs every now and then on the stomach or back.

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Causes of muscle twitching

The good news first: In most cases, the unpleasant twitching of the eye, lip or extremities is harmless - especially if it is just a fine, externally invisible or hardly visible, painless tremor. The movements take place directly under the skin or in deeper layers of tissue and usually disappear again after a short time. Doctors speak of "fasciculations" here, because the small trembling muscle bundles that twitch are called fascicles.

How do fasciculations of the calf or the upper arm come about?

There are a number of factors that can trigger muscle twitching:

  1. Mental stress
  2. stress
  3. Stimulant substances like caffeine
  4. Alcohol and / or drugs
  5. Great cold or heat
  6. Overexertion
  7. Hypoglycaemia
  8. Side effects of certain medications, e.g. antidepressants
  9. Magnesium deficiency

You may be wondering whether the twitching of the eyes can also be due to a vitamin deficiency. A lack of vitamins is not to blame, but a magnesium deficiency can certainly cause the fine muscle twitching. In addition, fatigue or an infection of the eye are conceivable as a trigger for the unpleasant twitching around the lid.

Good to know

Even the strange muscle twitching before going to sleep is usually completely harmless. It occurs when the cerebrum changes from being awake to sleeping and incorrectly sends impulses to the slack muscles.

This floating state of the brain occurs especially after stressful days when it is particularly difficult to switch off: The various body functions are then "shut down" at different speeds so that parts of the brain are still active while the rest is already fading away.

Diseases with the symptom of muscle twitching

So mostly it is external factors or your mental state that trigger the uncontrollable muscle twitches. Sometimes the muscle contractions are also caused by damage to the nerve cells. In this case the twitching is an expression of an illness, one speaks of "pathological fasciculations". Muscle twitching, which not only manifests itself as a slight tremor, but also leads to unwanted, involuntary movements, is medically known as "myoclonia". Myoclonia are sometimes associated with pain, sensory disturbances or cramps and are more often an indication of an existing disease than fasciculations.

For example, twitching all over the face, visible grimaces and other tics indicate Tourette's syndrome. Other diseases in which a more or less pronounced muscle twitching can occur include:

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  • epilepsy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • bacterial or viral infections such as herpes, meningitis or HIV
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Diabetes mellitus

Muscle twitching: when should you see a doctor?

If the muscle twitching persists, i.e. recurs or persists within two to three weeks, you should see a doctor. Even if the tremor is particularly strong or occurs in combination with pain or cramps, it is advisable to see a doctor. Your contact person in this case is the neurologist. He will examine whether you have any nerve damage and, for example, measure the electrical activity in the muscles or in the brain.

10 practical tips - this helps against harmless muscle twitching

Annoying eye twitching and muscle twitching of the stomach, lips, arms and legs can have many different causes - most of which fortunately are harmless. Are you one of those people who are haunted from time to time by involuntary but painless muscle movements? You can remedy this with these measures:

  1. Care for one compensation to your stressful everyday life, for example with yoga, autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation.
  2. Also Move is good for leaving the stress in the office behind you. How about a jog in the fresh air? This gets your circulation going and strengthens the muscles.
  3. Pranks caffeine of your menu - coffee and black tea are first taboo.
  4. Look out for one balanced nutrition with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  5. Combat magnesium deficiency with mineral-rich foods like bananas, spinach and broccoli.
  6. Refrain from alcohol: Beer, wine, schnapps and the like are nasty mineral robbers.
  7. Say goodbye to stimulants Energy drinksbecause they have many negative effects - Disruptive muscle twitching is one of them.
  8. Make sure enough to drink. Because if there is a lack of fluids, important nutrients may not reach the muscle cells.
  9. Check your posture: Bad posture, especially when sitting in front of the computer, stresses your spine and fasciculations can occur.
  10. Come Medication as a trigger for the twitches? Then talk to your doctor about possible alternatives to your previous preparations.

Muscle relaxation according to Jacobson:

This is how the popular relaxation method works

Bye-bye muscle twitching: successfully combating stress

Unwanted muscle twitching is just one of many symptoms of stress. It's an open secret: If you always give 100% in your job and in your private life and are therefore constantly under tension, you can get sick not only mentally, but also physically. In our magazine we inform you about various clinical pictures and symptoms that are associated with stress, for example gastritis and acute hearing loss. Don't let it get that far and fight stress with tried and tested relaxation measures such as meditation and yoga. You will also find plenty of detailed articles on these topics in our magazine for a healthier life.

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Natalie Decker

Natalie has been an editor for 15 years. In addition to lifestyle topics such as cooking and traveling, her focus is on medicine and health. Among other things, she writes for the online portalheil-vital.de and the Ratgeber-Verlag Graefe und Unzer.

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