What is twitching?

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TwitchingMuscle twitching is also called fasciculation, and it is usually a harmless transient condition. It is a small, local, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation visible under the skin arising from the spontaneous discharge of a bundle of skeletal muscle fibers (muscle fascicle). Fasciculations have a variety of causes, the majority of which are benign, but can also be due to disease of the motor neurons.

Some of the very simple causes of muscle twitching include things like stress. A few days of high stress may result in some people experience involuntary contractions of a muscle. It may become more stressful if a muscle suddenly behaves in an uncontrollable way. On this issue, it’s merely important to note that the likelihood of this muscle behavior being anything medically significant is extremely low.

Other times, a person’s behavior or use of certain substances can induce twitching. Too much caffeine intake can cause one muscle to twitch. Other drugs people normally take might cause twitch as a side effect, and these include many antihistamines, certain steroids and estrogen. Muscles may also twitch if people exercise frequently or if people become very low in magnesium.

Treatment of Muscle Twitching

Inadequate magnesium intake can cause fasciculations, especially after a magnesium loss due to severe diarrhea. Over-exertion is another risk factor for magnesium loss. As 70-80% of the adult population does not consume the recommended daily amount of magnesium, inadequate intake may also be a common cause. Treatment consists of increased intake of magnesium, such as nuts (especially almonds) and bananas. Magnesium supplements may also be taken, however too much magnesium may cause diarrhea, causing dehydration and nutrient loss (including magnesium).

Fasciculation also often occurs during a rest period after sustained stress, such as that brought on by unconsciously tense muscles. Reducing stress and anxiety is therefore another useful treatment of muscle twitching.

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