What is a muscle twitch?

Muscle twitches, also known as fasciculations, are involuntary muscle contractions that are minimal in force and localized to one area. Muscle twitches occur in small muscle groups that are connected to a single motor nerve fiber. This differentiates muscle twitches from muscle cramps, which generally affect multiple muscle groups in a given area (for instance, many muscles in the calf) at the same time).

Muscle twitches can occur in anyone and in any skeletal muscle. While they can sometimes be due to nervous system disorders or other underlying conditions, most frequently they are a normal body reaction. Abnormally high levels of stress or anxiety may increase the frequency with which you experience muscle twitches.

Muscle twitches are generally naturally occurring events that are not serious. However, in rare cases, muscle twitches can be an indication of a life-threatening underlying disorder. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as change in level of consciousness, garbled or slurred speech, a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), sudden weakness on one side of the body, or paralysis.

Seek prompt medical care if your muscle twitches are persistent or cause you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with a muscle twitch?

Muscle twitches may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. While muscle twitches may be accompanied by other symptoms, muscle twitches are usually isolated events that will not be associated with other symptoms.

Common symptoms that may occur along with muscle twitches

Muscle twitches may accompany other sym... Read more about muscle twitchsymptoms


What causesa muscle twitch?

Muscle twitches are caused by involuntary muscle contractions due to the firing of single motor nerves. Although muscle twitches are generally naturally occurring events, they can sometimes be due to underlying conditions, lifestyle habits, or medications.

Common causes of muscle twitches

Muscle twitches may be caused by common events or lifestyle habits including:
Read more about muscle twitchcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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