Muscle twitches are fine movements of a small area of muscle.
Muscle fasciculation; Fasciculations of muscle
Muscle twitching is caused by minor
Muscle twitches are minor and often go unnoticed. Some are common and normal. Others are signs of a nervous system disorder.
Autoimmune disorderssuch as Isaac syndrome
- Drug overdose (caffeine, amphetamines, or other stimulants)
- Drug side effect (such as from diuretics, corticosteroids, or estrogens)
- Lack of nutrients in the diet (deficiency)
- Twitches not caused by disease or disorders (benign twitches)
- Often affecting the eyelids, calf, or thumb
- Normal and quite common, often triggered by stress or
- Come and go, and do not last for more than a few days
Nervous system conditions that can cause muscle twitching:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (
ALS- Lou Gehrig's disease)
- Damage to the nerve that leads to a muscle
Muscular dystrophy Spinal muscular atrophy
- Weak muscles (myopathy)
Symptoms of a nervous system disorder include:
- Loss of, or change in, sensation
- Loss of muscle size (wasting)
No treatment is usually needed for benign muscle twitching.
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider if you have long-term or persistent muscle twitches.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include:
- When did you first notice the twitching?
- How long does it last?
- How often do you experience twitching?
- What muscles are affected?
- Is it always in the same location?
- Are you pregnant?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Tests depend on the suspected cause, and may include:
- Blood tests to look for problems with
electrolytes, thyroid gland function, and blood chemistry CT scanof the spine or brain Electromyogram(EMG)
- Nerve conduction studies
MRI scanof the spine or brain
Chinnery PF. Muscle diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 429.
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 403.