Your muscles serve vital functions for your body. They work with your nerves, bones, and joints to provide movement, flexibility, and mobility. They perform a complex process of stretching and contracting for each move you make.
Not all muscle movement is voluntary. Your heart is a compact muscle organ that works automatically, even when you’re asleep. Other involuntary muscles aid in digestion and other essential bodily functions.
Like rubber bands, your muscles are elastic and can expand and contract at your brain’s command. However, some conditions can cause involuntary muscle twitches, or quivers, which are a nuisance. If you have them chronically, they can affect your activities for daily living.
Ten Possible Causes of Muscle Twitching and How to Reduce Them at Home
A muscle twitch can present anywhere in your body, although it’s common in your face and outer extremities. Have you noticed a problem with your muscles? Here are ten common causes of a muscle twitch and how you can get them under control.
It’s impossible to live without some form of stress. Although stress is often uncomfortable, you need some to grow and learn throughout life. However, too much stress can cause you physical and mental issues, as well as make your muscles quiver.
When you are stressed, your brain goes into survival mode with the flight, fight, freeze, or faint options. It pumps adrenaline and cortisone into your bloodstream for a needed burst of life-saving energy. Chronic overdoses of these hormones can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and mental illness.
Give your body and your twitching muscles a break and try to reduce the stress in your life. Learn to choose your battles and realize that many things in the world are out of your control. However, you can control how you react to them.
Try things like meditation, visualization, or a mindful exercise like yoga. Many people find stress relief by keeping their thoughts in a journal. Less stress means less tension and less muscle fatigue.
2. Certain Medications
Your best option is to take medicine prescribed by your healthcare providers for some medical or mental conditions. Unfortunately, some of the medications you must take have unwanted side effects, like muscle twitches. You may notice them in the day, or they can bother you at night.
Your medical providers chose medications that should have more benefits than side effects. Many side effects are mild and will disappear as your body gets used to the drug. If not, it’s time to talk to a professional.
Do any of your medications or herbal supplements give you unpleasant side effects like muscle weakness and quivers? Some medicines can be changed for others that would suit you better. Remember that you should never alter or stop any medication without medical advice.
3. Sleep Deprivation
Between juggling a family, career, and other social obligations, it’s no wonder so many people in our country don’t get enough sleep. Statistics say that at least 50-70 percent of Americans have some sort of sleep disorder. Are you one of those people who stay in a fog of exhaustion?
Not only can sleep deprivation cause muscle fatigue and quivering, but it can take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you are having problems with your muscles, it may be the reason why you’re not sleeping well. Poor sleep patterns need to be addressed.
Aim to get at least 7-9 hours of solid sleep each night. Turn off the technology and make your bedroom a dark, quiet oasis that is conducive to sleep. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, consult your primary healthcare provider.
Did you know that at least 60 percent of your body is made up of water? You can go for a while without food, but you’ll die quickly without water. Your body must have water to nourish cells and for every system to function properly.
One primary function of drinking water is to keep your muscles, joints, and connective tissues supple and lubricated. If you notice quivers in your muscles, you could be dehydrated. You may be among the many people in America who are thirsty and don’t even realize it.
The simple fix for dehydration is to drink enough pure water every day. Although beverages like coffee, tea, and soda are water-based, your body still needs plain water to function correctly. Recent medical research recommends that you drink at least 4-7 cups a day of water if you’re a woman and 6-11 cups if you’re a man.
5. Drinking Too Much Caffeine or Alcohol
What’s the first thing you reach for in the morning? If you say coffee, you’re not alone. Many people crave that swift kick of caffeine to jumpstart their brains for the day. Maybe you sip your way through a pot of coffee at work and brew another pot when you get home.
Do you consume alcohol? Maybe you are a social drinker and drink modestly, or you drink a little more than you should. What you drink isn’t as important as how much you drink.
Most people tend to forget that both caffeine and alcohol are drugs. Overconsumption can have negative effects on your health and may cause things like weakness and muscle twitches. Plus, these drugs are habit-forming and can be a double problem when consumed simultaneously.
Remember that the best beverage for quenching your thirst is plain water. If you need a little pep from caffeine, limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee a day or one caffeinated soda. CDC guidelines recommend a limit of one alcoholic drink for women and two for men in a day.
6. Intense Workouts
Your body needs proper exercise to stay fit and in optimal health. If you practice intense exercise like running, weight lifting, or cardio training, you lose much water and essential electrolytes by sweating.
After a hard workout session, you may feel a little weak and notice quivers in your muscles. Sometimes, the muscle problems may last and even bother you at night. It doesn’t mean that you must give up your exercise regimen.
It’s normal to feel a little sore after a solid workout. However, if you notice that your muscles are continually twitching and making you uncomfortable, perhaps your workout is too intense. Seek advice from a certified fitness instructor or your healthcare provider.
As if you needed another reason to quit smoking, add this to your warning list. Did you know that smoking can deplete oxygen from your body and make your muscles weak and quivery?
There are no safe alternatives to smoking, and reduction won’t help. Your best solution is to talk to your healthcare provider about a smoking cessation program that’s right for you. Your body starts to heal within hours after you quit smoking.
8. Poor Diet Habits
If you don’t consume a balanced diet with enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber, your entire body will pay the consequences. If you are overweight or obese, you risk serious health conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and premature death.
Just because you are thin doesn’t mean you are healthy. Likewise, a person can be obese and still be malnourished. These conditions can wear down your muscles and cause irritating twitches.
Consume a balanced diet with enough protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. A proper diet can help your body get toned and fit. Consult a registered dietician or your primary healthcare provider for an eating plan that’s tailored to your needs.
9. Pinched Nerves
Your brain and nerve connections control both voluntary and involuntary muscle movements. Your primary nerves branch out from your spinal cord. If any nerve gets in a pinch because of spinal injuries or disorders, it can cause an uncontrollable twitch in your muscles.
Sometimes, a misaligned spine can cause pinched nerves, pain, and muscle issues. Many people find relief by being treated by a certified chiropractor. If you have nerve damage or spinal problems, you should consult a bone or neurological specialist.
10. Underlying Medical Conditions
For the most part, muscle twitches are benign and can be treated successfully by changing lifestyle habits. However, they can also be signs of serious diseases that attack your nerves, joints, or muscles. Some of these include multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as ALS.
While some of these diseases can be heredity, many of them aren’t. Quivering in the face and eyes can be warning signals of stroke or Bell’s palsy. To be on the safe side, consult your primary healthcare provider.
It’s normal to experience an occasional twitch in your muscles. When they become uncomfortable or disrupt your life, it’s time to find a solution. If lifestyle changes don’t help, consult your primary healthcare provider to look for underlying causes.