Muscle twitching: Here's what it could mean for your health

Though brief, uncontrollable muscle twitching is not always serious, it could be a symptom that, all's not okay with your nervous system.

muscle twitching
© RunPhoto
muscle twitching

Our body is constantly trying to tell us things about itself in many big and small, less perceptible ways. It's our duty to stay vigilant and pay attention to these warning signs. For example, things such as watery eyes, a small little canker sore or even experiencing extreme thirst could all be due to some pretty serious underlying reasons.

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This is why you should pay attention to even seemingly minute things such as muscle twitch. As reported by Medline Plus, muscle twitch is also called muscle fasciculation, andit refers to sharp muscle contractions, or uncontrollable twitching of a muscle group served by a single motor nerve fibre, over a short period of time.

As per Medline Plusand USA Today, here are the reasons why muscle twitch happens, and when you should be worried about it.

Causes of muscle twitching

USA Today quotes Loren Fishman, MD, professor of physical medicine at Columbia University, who explains that muscle twitching happens when one of the motor nerves that carries signals between our brain and our muscles, happen to misfire. He says,

Almost always this is due to motor nerves that send signals from the spine or brain to the receptors.
Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping yourself well-hydrated could be one way to combat muscle twitching  Imani Bahati

There are a whole host of factors that interfere with brain signals. These include, dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, side effects of drugs, and even nutrient deficiency in your diet.

Fishman explains,

Twitching can occur when your basic electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium are abnormally high or low.

In such cases, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping yourself well-hydrated should make the muscle twitching go away.

When to contact a doctor about muscle twitching

Sometimes, issues with your nervous system could also cause muscle twitching such as if you have:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also sometimes called Lou Gehrig disease or motor neuron disease
  • Neuropathy or damage to the nerve that leads to a muscle
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Weak muscles (myopathy)

Muscle twitching could also be a symptom of a nervous disorder if it is accompanied by symptoms such as loss of, or change in sensation in your muscles, wasting of muscle or loss of muscle size, and weakness.

You should consider contacting a medical professional for muscle twitching if you have long-term or persistent muscle twitches or if you have any of the above symptoms.

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Sources used:

Medline Plus: ' Muscle twitching'

USA Today: 'What causes muscle twitching? And here's when you should worry.'

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