At some point, you’ve experienced a muscle twitch. Maybe they’re infrequent, or perhaps you experience them on the regular, but should you be concerned?
Muscle twitches can be short or long in duration, but most of all, they can be irritating.
A muscle twitch is an involuntary contraction of the fibers that make up the muscle. Nerves control muscle fibers. If a nerve is damaged or stimulated, it can cause a muscle fiber to contract. These twitches occur below the skin and sometimes can’t be seen.
Common causes of muscle twitches include overexertion of the muscle, lack of sleep, caffeine intake or withdrawal, calcium, magnesium or vitamin D deficiency, dehydration, stress and anxiety, and certain medications.
These causes are all pretty minor and can be easily treated. In some serious cases, muscle twitches may be caused by pinched spinal nerves, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Isaac’s syndrome, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Some people may confuse a muscle spasm with a muscle twitch, but there are some key differences. Although both are involuntary contractions, twitches are brief and can occur repeatedly where a spasm is prolonged and may lead to pain.
Your doctor will complete a physical examination of you and ask you several questions to accurately diagnose the cause of your muscle twitch.
Treatment for muscle twitches may be as easy as reducing caffeine, upping water intake, and regularly stretching, to more complicated changes like altering prescriptions or being prescribed certain medications.
It’s important that you try to stay hydrated throughout the day, get adequate sleep each night, monitor your caffeine intake, exercise moderately, and eat a healthy and balanced diet to prevent any nutritional deficiencies to reduce your risk of muscle twitches.