Muscle twitching, muscle trembling, fasciculation or, as a matter of course, muscle twitching also occur in different strengths and can either bring about clearly visible movements or remain visually unnoticed. Partly they are symptoms of a disease; but they can also be a disease themselves. A differentiated diagnosis is therefore absolutely necessary for frequently occurring muscle twitching.

What is muscle twitching?

The term muscle twitching doctors usually understand involuntary contractions of the muscles. This can affect many different muscle groups.

The term muscle twitching doctors usually understand involuntary contractions of the muscles. This can affect many different muscle groups, including the facial muscles or the limbs.

The convulsions can take place rhythmically and regularly as well as once or at irregular intervals. How frequently and intensely the muscle twitching occurs depends on the individual cause. Do the contractions clearly visible movements, say medics of myoclonus; if there is no actual movement, the twitches are called fasciculations.

Muscle twitching does not always have to have a morbid cause. The so-called sleep convulsions of the limbs, which occur in about 70% of the population, are considered medically harmless phenomenon.


Muscle twitching can have harmless and natural causes. For example, severe stress or mental imbalance can lead to temporary twitching of individual muscle groups.

Under certain circumstances, however, the muscle contractions may also be based on a pathological disorder. Especially neurological problems can manifest themselves through involuntary muscle twitching. Also, poisoning such as heavy metals or alcohol often bring a conspicuous muscle twitch with it.

Epilepsy not infrequently suffer from sometimes strong muscle contractions; however, their occurrence always depends on the exact nature of epilepsy. Under circumstances, an excessive muscle twitch may also be due to inflammation of the brain. In order to rule out a dangerous disease, frequent muscle twitches should be medically examined.

Diseases with this symptom

  • poisoning
  • Parkinson
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Wilson's disease
  • magnesium deficiency
  • alcohol intoxication
  • Tic and Tourette syndrome
  • febrile seizure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • epilepsy
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • encephalitis
  • Circulatory disorders

Diagnosis & History

If conspicuous frequent and / or strong muscle twitching occurs, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Specialized examination methods help specialists find out if the contractions have a morbid cause and where exactly it lies.

In a detailed discussion, frequency, intensity and possible other symptoms are discussed first. This is followed by a comprehensive examination of the patient. Can not be determined in this way, no trigger of muscle twitching, the physician can order such as an EEG for measuring brain activity or an EMG for measuring muscle activity.

In this way it can be determined whether there is epilepsy, for example. It can also be diagnosed whether the causes of muscle twitching are nervous or muscular in nature.


Muscle twitching causes many people to an inner stress life. In particularly severe cases anxiety and panic occur because the organism undertakes a non-controllable action that leads to excessive demands. Although muscle twitching is generally unperceived, the person feels that the other person is aware of the twitching and is being watched.

A sense of self-weakness often occurs. Especially when dealing with superiors, the stress experience often increases in addition. Unrest, hectic or nervousness set in. In this state, the error rate increases when performing tasks. Forgetfulness occurs and blood pressure increases. People with a cardiovascular problem can have a heart attack in severe cases.

Muscle twitching is a sign of a deficiency in the organism. If this is not sufficiently investigated, further complaints occur or muscle twitching increases. If the affected muscle is shut down by surgery, damage to the nerves can occur during the procedure.

These trigger pain or cause numbness in the affected area. Other muscle fibers can suffer injury or an allergic reaction occurs through your surgery. The muscle twitch attracts an immediate attention of the person concerned. His thoughts begin to circle and he is distracted.

When should you go to the doctor?

An occasional muscle twitching is quite natural and still no reason to see a doctor. With regular muscle twitching, however, a doctor's visit is unavoidable in order to rule out diseases. If the muscle twitching comes with pain, the doctor's visit should not wait long, as a possible nerve disease could be the trigger. A neurologist should then be consulted.

This will first want to find out how often and under what conditions a muscle twitch occurs. The medical history will also be of concern to him. Pre-existing conditions associated with a nerve injury are of great importance to the neurologist in the search for the cause. These include, for example, epilepsy or other symptoms such as burning muscles, painful muscles or fever. But not only a nervous disease can be behind frequent muscle twitching. Even medications can be a trigger for an unexplained muscle twitch. To rule this out, the neurologist will take a close look at the medications the patient is taking.

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Treatment & Therapy

After diagnosis, the attending specialist can initiate appropriate therapy. For example, if epilepsy has been recognized as the cause of muscle twitching, in most cases drug therapy is initiated to prevent the onset of symptoms. An operation of the affected brain region is possible in individual cases. An encephalitis must urgently be treated with medication to avoid a life-threatening condition.

Under certain circumstances, the severe nervous disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short, may be accompanied by severe muscle twitching. Here is a comprehensive treatment including physiotherapy and occupational therapy needed to keep the incurable disease as long as possible in tolerable conditions. If the specialist determines after extensive examination that muscle twitching is not caused by pathological causes, a change in individual circumstances may be recommended.

Reducing stressors and maintaining a balanced diet can help improve wellbeing and reduce muscle twitching. If the muscle twitching accompanied by painful cramps, should be paid in addition to a sufficient magnesium intake. If necessary, the doctor can prescribe appropriate preparations and give helpful tips.

Outlook & Forecast

The prospects of muscle twitching depend heavily on the severity of the symptom itself. In many cases, the patient's life is only mildly affected by muscle twitching. However, a strong muscle twitch can negatively affect certain activities, so that the quality of life is greatly reduced by the symptom. As a rule, a doctor should always be consulted for this symptom if it persists.

As a result of muscle twitching, the patient often suffers from additional stress and panic attacks. It is not uncommon for outsiders to misjudge the condition as it appears to them as a physical or mental disability. This can lead to teasing and bullying, especially in children. In these cases, it is necessary to seek out a psychologist.

Often it comes to accidents or errors in the operation of equipment, machinery or vehicles due to the muscle twitching. The muscles themselves may feel numb for a certain amount of time.

Treatment is usually provided by physiotherapy with medication. It usually leads to success and can also prevent convulsions and other consequential damage. Often the symptom may be limited by the intake of magnesium and will not cause any further discomfort or complications.


Since muscle twitching can be a symptom of many illnesses or can occur completely naturally, prevention in the true sense is not possible. Of course, a healthy lifestyle supports well-being and can also prevent possible illnesses. If noticeable frequent and / or strong muscle twitches are observed that persist over a longer period of time, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. If a disease is actually underlying it, it can generally be better treated if diagnosed early.

You can do that yourself

For benign muscle twitching many measures can be taken to relieve the symptoms. One of the most common causes is an excess of stress as well as mental illness. Here it is necessary to compensate as quickly as possible in order to reduce the cortisol levels.

Relaxation exercises like autogenic training as well as yoga or qigong can help. Even walks, listening to soft music and sports such as swimming or running help to relax nerves and muscles. If you are open to alternative healing methods, you could also try a Bach flower therapy. Available are special combination preparations. Even homeopathic processed plant extracts promise support. Likewise, the sleep behavior should be checked. Lack of sleep creates stress on the body and increases cortisol levels. Sleep rituals and a pleasant sleeping atmosphere help to find peace and to get the important night sleep.

If a magnesium deficiency is hidden behind the uncontrolled muscle twitching, it can also be helped quickly. On the one hand, pharmacies are free to sell capsules or powders as supplements - these are based on readily absorbable magnesium citrate - and on the other hand, magnesium-rich foods can be incorporated into the diet: these include spinach, beans, oatmeal and nuts. On so-called "magnesium robbers" - such as white flour - should be waived. The consumption of alcohol or drugs can also cause neuronal disorders. Likewise, an excess of caffeine can be detrimental. In existing muscle twitching should be dispensed with these substances.

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