What causes facial spasms?
Often, the cause of facial spasms is not known. They may be the symptom of a transient tic disorder, chronic motor tic disorder, or Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements and vocalizations. In serious cases, facial spasms may be related to seizures or epilepsy.
Neurological causes of facial spasms
Facial spasms may be caused by disorders of the nervous system including:
- Chronic motor tic disorder
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Transient tic disorder (short duration tics)
Other causes of facial spasms
Facial spasms can also be caused by medication side effects.
Serious or life-threatening causes of facial spasms
In some cases, facial spasms may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include:
- Brain damage
- Epilepsy (neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures)
Questions for diagnosing the cause of facial spasms
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your facial spasms including:
- How long have you experienced facial spasms?
- Do you experience any vocal outbursts?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Do you have tics elsewhere besides your face?
- What parts of your face experience spasms?
- What medications are you taking?
What are the potential complications of facial spasms?
Generally, facial spasms do not lead to any complications and may spontaneously resolve. If your facial spasms are related to seizures, prompt medical evaluation is essential. Because facial spasms can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Absenteeism from work or school
- Permanent neurological damage
- Seizures and tremors
Seizures. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seizures.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
Facial tics. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002383/. Accessed May 4, 2011.
What are facial spasms?
Facial spasms are abnormal muscle contractions in the face. Repeated facial spasms, also called tics, are often seen in children, particularly boys. In many cases, the cause of facial spasms is not known. In other cases, facial spasms may be related to seizures, medication side effects, chronic motor disorders, or Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary m... Read more about facial spasms introduction