Muscle twitching is a sudden contraction of the muscles that occurs without conscious control (involuntary). In technical terminology this is called myoclonia. All muscle groups of the body can be affected.
Frequently a twitching of the legs when falling asleep or a twitching of the eye muscles. How strong the muscle twitching is can be quite different. The causes of muscle twitching are also varied. In most cases, however, the cause is harmless. In rare cases, however, serious, usually neurological, diseases can be behind it.
Causes of muscle twitching
Muscle twitching results in a contraction of the muscles that cannot be consciously controlled. This can occur in all muscle groups of the body. The causes are very diverse.
First of all, you should know that in most cases, muscle twitching is not dangerous. Especially muscle twitches before falling asleep are usually harmless. However, if the muscle twitching occurs permanently, you should consult a doctor.
In addition to psychological causes such as mental strain or stress, a lack of magnesium can also cause the muscle twitching. Certain drugs can also trigger muscle twitches as side effects. Of course, muscle twitching is also possible after the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Sometimes bacterial infections or viral diseases also play a role. In the same way, hypoglycaemia can also be the trigger for muscle twitches. However, muscle twitching must always be considered in conjunction with neurological diseases such as tics or Tourette’s syndrome.
Epilepsy can also make itself felt through muscle twitches. This also applies to diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Even in diabetics, damage to the nerves as part of polyneuropathy can cause muscle twitches.
Last but not least, the cause of muscle twitches is found directly in the brain, e.g. in the case of a brain tumor or inflammation of the brain. (Nevertheless, it should be noted that muscle twitches are absolutely harmless in most cases. However, it is advisable to consult a physician in order to rule out threatening diseases.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that muscle twitches are absolutely harmless in most cases. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor in order to rule out threatening diseases. Although muscle twitches are usually harmless, they can also be an indication of epilepsy.
In the case of epilepsy, a functional disorder in the brain repeatedly causes a pathological spread of excitation in certain nerve cell areas of the CNS. This faulty excitation of certain regions of the brain leads to uncontrollable seizure-like muscle twitches. These are usually the classic leading symptom of epilepsy.
This is also known as an epileptic seizure or convulsion. In addition to a generalized seizure, a distinction is made between focal seizures. Here the pathological spread of excitement is limited to a smaller area of the brain.
In a focal seizure, often only one muscle group is affected, e.g. in the face or only in the hand. Multiple sclerosis can also manifest itself through muscle twitches. However, these usually occur in the late stage of the disease.
In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheaths of the nerve fibers are destroyed in the course of an autoimmune disease. However, an intact myelin sheath is a prerequisite for the transmission of an excitation. This leads to neurological deficits.
The typical symptoms at diagnosis are visual disturbances, as the optic nerve is usually affected. However, sensory disturbances and paralysis can also occur. Muscle twitching is not typical for the disease in its early stages.
If there is an uncontrollable twitching of the muscles, this is initially frightening for most of those affected. However, the causes are often harmless. Especially a twitching of the eyelid is often related to stress.
Mental stress such as anger at work or in relationships can also trigger involuntary muscle contractions. This can be explained by the fact that during stress or psychological strain, the balance between excitatory and inhibitory impulses in the central nervous system is often not quite intact. If this difficult control is not correct, excitatory impulses sometimes predominate and lead to muscle contraction.
However, the symptoms usually recede in the course of time.A muscle twitch can also occur in healthy people and is usually considered harmless. Especially after sports, muscle twitches in the extremities are not uncommon, especially after an intensive training session. In most cases, muscle twitches after sport indicate overtraining.
This generally has no disease value. However, there may also be a lack of magnesium or calcium behind it, because the body loses water and blood salts (electrolytes) with sweat during sport. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a chronic autoimmune thyroid disease that can lead to hypothyroidism.
The symptoms of the disease can be very diverse. Mostly, however, chronic fatigue and listlessness are in the foreground. Weight gain, frequent freezing, hair loss and digestive problems are also reported more frequently.
Sometimes a short phase of hyperthyroidism occurs at the beginning of the disease. This is characterized by rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, increased sweating and anxiety. During this phase of the disease, muscle twitching can also occur.
In principle, however, it should be noted that muscle twitching is not a classic symptom of Hashimoto’s disease. In the case of a herniated disc, the inner gelatinous core breaks through the outer fibrous ring of the disc and can thus press on neighboring nervous structures. The symptoms are manifold and depend on where the herniated disc occurred, how large it is and which nerves or nerve roots are irritated by it.
Sometimes only a muscle twitch occurs. In other cases, the patient complains of a tingling sensation on the skin (sensitivity disorder). In severe cases, the affected muscles may even be paralyzed.